W 'R£D fOEMS
FROM THE LIBRARY OF
REV. LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, D. D.
BEQUEATHED BY HIM TO
THE LIBRARY OF
PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
K*-tyLs j c ipz.
THE CHOICE BOOKS
THE CHOICE BOOKS
Mary Russell Mitford
THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD
SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY
THE CROWN OF WILD OLIVE
POEMS OF RALPH WALDO
SACRED POEMS OF THE XIX
CENTURY Kate A. Wright
DAINTY POEMS OF THE XIX
CENTURY Kate A. Wright
Other volumes will be announced later
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<gcs* CF ™^
SACRED POEM& 15 W34
KATE A. WRIGHT
Compiler of "Dainty Poems of the XIX Century"
"Sweet Notes from Many Voices" etc.
NEW YORK: DODGE
220 EAST TWENTY-THIRD ST.
TO THE READER
WHEN engaged in selecting materials
for my " Dainty Poems of the Nine-
teenth Century," which consists of
secular Poems only, I set aside many which
expressed a sincere and elevated religious
sentiment in language likely to be acceptable
to all readers, irrespective of sect. Friends
urged me to complete and publish a collection
of them, and the marked success of my book
referred to above encouraged me to act on
their advice : hence the present volume.
As in my other collection, I could not in this
volume have included so many choice poems,
if I had not been favoured by the permission
of Authors and Publishers to make extracts
from their Copyright works, and the reader
will perceive by the beauty of these extracts,
how deeply I am indebted to them for this
permission, which has given an excellence to
the collection, which it otherwise could not have
had. The book must be regarded as containing
only cabinet specimens of the writings of the
different authors, for a fuller enjoyment of which
I would refer the reader to their published works.
The following is a list of the Authors and
Publishers who have so kindly favoured me : —
Sir Edwin Arnold and Messrs. Longmans, Green & Co.
Messrs. Macmillan & Co., for the late Mr. Matthew
8 TO THE READER
Mr. Alfred Austin.
Mrs. \V. Nicholson for the late Mr. Edward Banks.
Mr. Arthur Christopher Benson and Mr. John Lane.
Rev. R. S. Brooke, D.D.
Rev. R. \V. Buckley, D.D.
Miss Jane Bushby for the late Mrs. Anne S. Bushbv.
Messrs. Macmillan for the late Mr. Arthur Hugh Clough.
Mr. Austin Dobson.
Mrs. Edward Dowden.
Professor Edward Dowden.
Messrs. Blackwood & Sons for the late George Eliot.
Miss Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler.
Mr. Norman Gale.
Mr. Richard le Gallienne.
Messrs. James Nisbet & Co. for the late Miss Frances
Mr. Alfred Hayes.
The late Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Rev. John A. Jennings.
Miss E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake).
Messrs. Chatto & Windus for Dr. George MacDonald.
Miss Jane G. Matheson for the late Rev. George
Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton, also for the late Mr.
Philip Bourke Marston.
Mr. Gilbert Parker.
Sir Noel Paton.
Major A. W. Pollock for the late Rev. T. B. Pollock.
Rev. H. I. D. Ryder and Messrs. M. H. Gill & Son.
Mr. Elliot Stock.
Mr. John Lane for the late Lord de Tabley.
Mr. A. C. Trench for the late Archbishop Trench.
Mr. Aubrey de Vere.
Kate A. Wright
SACRED POEMS OF
THE XlXth CENTURY
SARAH FLOWER ADAMS
NEARER, MY GOD, TO THEE
EARER, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee !
E'en though it be a cross
That raiseth me ;
Still all my song would be,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee !
Though like the wanderer,
The sun gone down,
Darkness be over me,
My rest a stone ;
Yet in my dreams I'd be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee !
There let the way appear
Steps unto Heaven ;
All that Thou send'st to me
In mercy given ;
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee !
Then with my waking thoughts
Bright with Thy praise,
12 SACRED POEMS
Out of my stony griefs
Bethel 111 raise ;
So by my woes to be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee !
Or if on joyful wing
Cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot.
Upwards I fly,
Still all my song shall be.
Nearer,, my God, to thee,
Nearer to Thee !
SIR EDWIN ARNOLD
EXTRACTS FROM "THE LIGHT OF
T may be this shall hap ! How should I
Yet do we know, who loved and followed
Never such hard words fell from those true
Which would not have the young man call
Replying, 4 None is good ! Not one, save God ! *
Love's glory — not Love's gore — redeems the
The gateway of His Kingdom He did shut
On them who named His name, but let the
Lie helpless ; and the naked go unclad ;
The fatherless uncared for ; prisoners
Unvisited ; the woe-begones of earth
Unsuccoured ; — vainly dreaming to love God
Who did not love their brothers ; those who
Talents, and wrapped them in the napkin ;
Who — pardoned of great debts — took by the
A fellow-servant for some little due,
And narrowly exacted all ; unkind,
14 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Forgetting the Forgiven But for Faith
Which — if it could — would cling ; and — if it
Would comprehend ; and, comprehending not,
Stumbled, yet loved and strove, — to that He
The golden doors wide open, crying : * Come,
Thrice blessed of my Father ! what ye did,
In that sweet secret doing of true heart,
Unto the least of these My brethren, ye
Have done it unto Me ! ' "
• * * * *
" Wherefore, if there live
Brothers too low to love, too base to serve,
Too evil to forgive ; if aught in Man
So abject seem and so to brute allied
Nice natures scorn the kinship ; — think that
Knew also these, and measured these, and
His daily sojourn 'midst them ; and was swift
To succour them and cheer ; and bore with
Never once holding any lowly soul
Less dear to Heaven than high and saintly
Never conceding once that one stray sheep —
Lean, foul, and fleeceless in the thorns of Sin —
Should die, unfolded, for the safe flock's sake.
Thus, then, weakly I strive to answer thee :
NINETEENTH CENTURY 15
Jesus our Lord hath lived and died and lived ;
And, now, — in Suns, and Stars, and amplest
When Angels name us they must name Him,
Since He was Man — is Man. And for His sake
No more 'tis hard to love what He hath loved,
Nor strange to tread, in footmarks of His feet,
This path which leads, by love of Man, to
Through Earthly Service rendered, duties
In meekness, purity, and charity —
Always our Helper, He awaits. Awaits
To tell what best He knew — the secret deep
How the Divine hides in the Undivine,
How near to good is evil. Waits to say :
* Enter ye in, who nursed Me, lying sick,
And fed Me, being hungered ; gave Me robes
When I was naked, wiped My tears away
In heavy-hearted days, and pitied Me,
And helped Me, cast in prison with the thieves !
And, when we answer : ' Oh, dear Lord ! but,
Saw we Thee sick, or hungered, or unclad,
Or sad, or cast in prison ? ' Christ shall say :
* Inasmuch as ye did it to the least
Of these My brothers, it was done to Me !
Aye ! 'twas to Me, — and 'twas to God through
16 SACRED POEMS
Ye gave that cup of water ! I lay sick
With him ye succoured ; I was languishing
In prison with the broken hearts ye cheered ;
That was My nakedness ye covered up
Clothing My Poor ; I was the babe ye fed ;
I was that widow whom ye visited ;
Share My joy now, who helped My Father
Enter ye in ! "
THE Master stood upon the mount, and
He saw a fire in His disciples' eyes ;
u The old law," they said, M is wholly come to
Behold the new world rise ! "
1 Was it," the Lord then said, " with scorn ye
The olcj law observed by Scribes and
I say unto you, see ye keep that law
More faithfully than these !
44 Too hasty heads for ordering worlds, alas !
Think not that I to annul the law have will'd ;
No jot, no tittle from the law shall pass,
Till all have been fulfiird;'
So Christ said eighteen hundred years ago.
But what then shall be said to those to-day,
Who cry aloud to lay the old world low
To clear the new world's way?
Religious fervours ! ardour misapplied !
Hence, hence," they cry, " ye do but keep man
18 SACRED POEMS OF THE
But keep him self-immersed, preoccupied,
And lame the active mind ! "
Ah ! from the old world let someone answer
" Scorn ye this world, their tears, their inward
I say unto you, see that your souls live
A deeper life than theirs !
" Say ye : ' The spirit of man has found new
And we must leave the old faiths and walk
therein ? ' —
Leave then the Cross as ye have left carved
But guard the fire within !
" Bright else and fast the stream of life may
And no man may the other's hurt behold ;
Yet each will have one anguish — his own soul
Which perishes of cold."
Here let that voice make end ; then, let a
From a far lonelier distance, like the wind
Be heard, floating through heaven, and fill
These men's profoundest mind :
NINETEENTH CENTURY 19
M Children of men ! the unseen Power, whose
For ever doth accompany mankind,
Hath look'd on no religion scornfully
That men did ever find.
M Which has not taught weak wills how much
they can ?
Which has not fall'n on the dry heart like rain ?
Which has not cried to sunk, self-weary man :
Thou must be born again I
" Children of men ! not that your age excel
In pride of life the ages of your sires,
But that ye think clear, feel deep, bear fruit well,
The Friend of man desires."
WEARY of myself, and sick of asking
What I am, and what I ought to
At this vessel's prow I stand, which bears me
Forwards, forwards, o'er the starlit sea.
And a iook of passionate desire
O'er the sea and to the stars I send :
u Ye who from my childhood up have calm'd me,
Calm me, ah, compose me to the end i
20 SACRED POEMS OF THE
M Ah, once more," I cried, " ye stars, ye waters,
On my heart your mighty charm renew ;
Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you,
Feel my soul becoming vast like you ! "
From the intense, clear, star-sown vault of
Over the lit sea's unquiet way,
In rustling night-air came the answer :
" Wouldst thou be as these are ? Live as they.
41 Unaffrighted by the silence round them,
Undistracted by the sights they see,
These demand not that the things without them
Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.
" And with joy the stars perform their shining,
And the sea its long moon-silver' d roll ;
For self-poised they live, nor pine with noting
All the fever of some differing soul.
" Bounded by themselves, and unregardful
In what state God's other works may be,
In their own tasks all their powers pouring,
These attain the mighty life you see.''
O air-born voice ! long since, severely clear,
A cry like thine in mine own heart I hear :
" Resolve to be thyself ; and know, that he
Who finds himself, loses his misery ! "
NINETEENTH CENTURY 21
Stagirius was a young - monk to whom St. Chrysostom
addressed three books, and of whom those books give an
account. They will be found in the first volume of the
Benedictine edition of St. Chrysostom's works.
THOU, who dost dwell alone —
Thou, who dost know thine own —
Thou, to whom all are known
From the cradle to the grave —
Save, oh ! save.
From the world's temptations,
From that fierce anguish
Wherein we languish,
From that torpor deep
Wherein we lie asleep,
Heavy as death, cold as the grave
Save, oh ! save.
When the soul, growing clearer,
Sees God no nearer ;
When the soul, mounting higher,
To God comes no nigher ;
But the arch-fiend Pride
Mounts at her side,
Foiling her high emprise,
Sealing her eagle eyes,
And, when she fain would soar,
Makes idols to adore.
22 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Changing the pure emotion
Of her high devotion,
To a skin-deep sense
Of her own eloquence ;
Strong to deceive, strong to enslave—
Save, oh ! save.
From the ingrain'd fashion
Of this earthly nature
That mars thy creature ;
From grief that is but passion,
From mirth that is but feigning,
From tears that bring no healing,
From wild and weak complaining,
Thine old strength revealing
Save, oh ! save.
From doubt, where all is double ;
Where wise men are not strong,
Where comfort turns to trouble,
Where just men suffer wrong ;
Where sorrow treads on joy,
Where sweet things soonest cloy,
Where faiths are built on dust,
Where love is half mistrust,
Hungry, and barren, and sharp as the sea-
Oh ! set us free.
O let the false dream fly
Where our sick souls do lie
Tossing continually !
NLNETEENTH CENTURY 23
O where thy voice doth come
Let all doubts be dumb,
Let all words be mild,
All strifes be reconciled,
All pains beguiled !
Light bring no blindness,
Love no unkindness,
Knowledge no ruin,
Fear no undoing !
From the cradle to the grave,
Save, oh ! save.
TWAS August, and the fierce sun over-
Smote on the squalid streets of
And the pale weaver, through his windows
In Spitalfields, look'd thrice dispirited.
I met a preacher there I knew, and said :
" 111 and oerwork'd, how fare you in this
scene ? n —
41 Bravely ! M said he ; u for I of late have been
Much cheer' d with thoughts of Christ, the
24 SACRED POEMS
O human soul ! as long as thou canst so
Set up a mark of everlasting light,
Above the howling senses' ebb and flow,
To cheer thee, and to right thee if thou roam —
Not with lost toil thou labourest through the
Thou mak'st the heaven thou hop'st indeed
FOIL'D by our fellow-men, depress'd,
We leave the brutal world to take its
And, Patience ! in another life, we say,
The zvorld shall be thrust dozvn, and xve
And will not, then, the immortal armies scorn
The world's poor, routed leavings ? or will they,
Who fail'd under the heat of this life's day,
Support the fervours of the heavenly morn ?
No, no ! the energy of life may be
Kept on after the grave, but not begun ;
And he who flagg'd not in the earthly strife,
From strength to strength advancing — only he,
His soul well-knit, and all his battles won,
Mounts, and that hardly, to eternal life.
MRS. C. F. ALEXANDER
THE CA VE OF MACHPELAH
"There they buried Abraham, and Sarah his wife, there
they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried
Leah." — Gen. xlix. 31.
CALM is it in the dim cathedral cloister,
Where lie the dead all couched in
Where the shades thicken, and the breath
Than in the sunlight air :
Where the chance ray that makes the carved
Tints with a crimson, or a violet light
Some pale old Bishop with his staff and mitre,
Some stiff crusading knight !
Sweet is it where the little graves fling shadows
In the green churchyard, on the shaven
And a faint cowslip fragrance from the
O'er the low wall doth pass !
More sweet — more calm in that fair valleys
The burial place in Ephrons pasture ground,
26 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Where the oil-olive shed her snowy blossom,
And the red grape was found,
When the great pastoral prince with love
Rose up in anguish from the face of
And weighed the silver shekels for its buying
Before the sons of Heth.
Here, when the measure of his days was num-
— Days few, and evil in this vale of tears ! —
At Sarah's side the faithful Patriarch slum-
An old man full of years :
Here, holy Isaac, meek of heart and gentle,
And the fair maid who came to him from
And the sad sire who knew all throes parental,
And meek-eyed Leah, are ;
She rests not here, the beautiful of feature,
For whom her Jacob wrought his years
And deemed them but as one, for that fair
So dear the love he bore !
NINETEENTH CENTURY 27
Nor Israel's son beloved, 1 who brought him
With a long pomp of woe to Canaan's
Till all the people wondered at the weeping
By the Egyptians made.
Like roses from the same tree gathered
And flung together in one vase to keep, —
Some but not all who loved so well, and
Lie here in quiet sleep.
What though the Moslem mosque be in the
Though faithless hands have sealed the
And the red Prophet's children shout " El
Over the Hebrew's grave :
Yet a day cometh when those white walls
Shall give again to light the living dead,
And Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, re-awaking
Spring from their rocky bed.
1 " And the bones of Joseph buried they in Shechem." —
Joshua xxiv. 32.
28 SACRED POEMS OF THE
11 Thus the Heavens and the earth were finished, and
all the host of them." — Gen. ii. i.
OUNG heart, impatient of thy powers,
Why wilt thou fret to know
That knowledge comes with weary hours,
And heavy step, and slow?
That each thing great in its degree
In toil and care begins,
And no perfection here may be
But that which labour wins?
Perchance 'twas writ to do thee shame.
That He whom angels praise
Paused o'er His fair creation's frame,
And lingered six long days.
His word at once had hung them there.
Planet, and star, and sun ; —
Perchance to teach thee patient care,
He made them one by one.
Think how the great world silent lay
A void and formless place,
Gods Spirit brooding far away
Over the water's face, —
NINETEENTH CENTURY 29
Till bursting on that darkness wide
The glorious light had birth,
And in her beauty and her pride,
He made the fair young earth.
Three days she hung all cold and still,
Wrappd in that sunless light,
No golden lustre on the hill,
No silver moon at night.
God made the sun, and in his ray
Sprang flowers by stream and meadow,
On all her heights the sunlight lay,
And on her sward, the shadow. —
The graceful moonbeams touched her sod
With slanting silver bars,
" Shouted for joy the sons of God,
And sang the morning stars."
Slowly He wrought, and duly set
All things above, below ; —
Wilt thou, His creature, chide and fret
If thine advance be slow ?
Patience, and zeal, and toil He asks —
Then let thine heart be strong,
Nor weary of thy lowly tasks,
Because the time is long.
30 SACRED POEMS OF THE
" By faith Rahab perished not with them that believed not,
when she had received the spies with peace." — Heb. xi. 31.
ISE up, rise up, O Rahab ;
And bind the scarlet thread
On the casement of thy chamber,
When the battle waxeth red.
From the double feast of Gilgal,
From Jordan's cloven wave,
They come with sound of trumpet
With banner and with glaive.
Death to the foes of Israel !
But joy to thee, and thine,
To her who saved the spies of God,
Who shows the scarlet line !
Twas in the time of harvest,
When the corn lay on the earth,
That first she bound the signal
And bade the spies go forth.
For a cry came to her spirit
From the far Egyptian coasts,
And a dread was in her bosom
Of the Mighty Lord of Hosts.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 31
And the faith of saints and martyrs
Lay brave at her heart's core,
As some inward pulse were throbbing
Of the kingly line she bore.
As there comes a sudden fragrance
In the last long winter's day,
From the paly silken primrose
Or the violet by the way.
And we pause, and look around us,
And we feel through every vein
That the tender spring is coming
And the summer's rosy reign.
In the twilight of our childhood,
When youth's shadows lie before,
There come thoughts into our bosoms
Like the spies to Rahab's door.
And we scarcely know their value,
Or their power for good or ill,
But we feel they are God's angels,
And they seek us at His will.
And we tremble at their presence,
And we blush to let them forth,
In some word of tender feeling,
Or some deed of Christian worth.
32 SACRED POEMS
Yet those guests perchance may witness
In that awful battle day,
When the foe is on the threshold,
And the gates of life give way :
When the soul that seeks for safety.
Shall behold but one red sign —
But the blood-drops of Atonement
On the cross of Love Divine !
IS LIFE WORTH L1VLXG ?
S life worth living ? Yes, so long
As Spring revives the year,
And hails us with the cuckoo's song,
To show that she is here ;
So long as May of April takes,
In smiles and tears, farewell,
And windflowers dapple all the brakes,
And primoses the dell ;
While children in the woodlands yet
Adorn their little laps
With ladysmock and violet,
And daisy-chain their caps ;
While over orchard daffodils
Cloud-shadows float and fleet,
And ouzel pipes and laverock trills,
And young lambs buck and bleat ;
So long as that which bursts the bud
And swells and tunes the rill,
Makes springtime in the maidens blood,
Life is worth living still.
Life's not worth living ! Come with me,
Now that, through vanishing veil,
34 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Shimmers the dew on lawn and lea,
And milk foams in the pail ;
Now that June's sweltering sunlight bathes
With sweat the striplings lithe,
As fall the long straight-scented swathes
Oyer the crescent scythe ;
Now that the throstle never stops
His self-sufficing strain,
And woodbine-trails festoon the copse.
And eglantine the lane ;
Now rustic labour seems as sweet
As leisure, and blythe herds
Wend homeward with unweary feet,
Caroling like the birds ;
Now all, except the lover's vow,
And nightingale, is still ;
Here, in the twilight hour, allow,
Life is worth living still.
When Summer, lingering half-forlorn
On Autumn loves to lean,
And fields of slowly yellowing corn
Are girt by woods still green ;
When hazel-nuts wax brown and plump,
And apples rosy-red,
And the owlet hoots from hollow stump,
And the dormouse makes its bed ;
NINETEENTH CENTURY 35
When crammed are all the granary floors.
And the Hunters moon is bright,
And life again is sweet indoors,
And logs again alight ;
Aye, even when the houseless wind
Waileth through cleft and chink,
And in the twilight maids grow kind,
And jugs are filled and clink ;
When children clasp their hands and pray T
" Be done Thy heavenly will ! n
Who doth not lift his voice and say,
44 Life is worth living still " ?
Is life worth living? Yes, so long
As there is wrong to right,
Wail of the weak against the strong,
Or tyranny to fight ;
Long as there lingers gloom to chase,
Or streaming tear to dry,
One kindred woe, one sorrowing face
That smiles as we draw nigh ;
Long as at tale of anguish swells
The heart, and lids grow wet,
And at the sound of Christmas bells
We pardon and forget ;
So long as Faith with Freedom reigns,
And loyal Hope survives
36 SACRED POEMS
And gracious Charity remains
To leaven lowly lives ;
While there is one untrodden tract
For Intellect or Will,
And men are free to think and act
Life is worth living still.
Not care to live while English homes
Nestle in English trees,
And England's Trident-Sceptre roams
Her territorial seas !
Not live while English songs are sung
Wherever blows the wind,
And England's laws and England's tongue
Enfranchise half mankind !
So long as in Pacific main,
Or on Atlantic strand,
Our kin transmit the parent strain,
And love the Mother-Land ;
So long as in this ocean Realm,
Victoria and her Line
Retain the heritage of the helm,
By loyalty divine ;
So long as flashes English steel,
And English trumpets shrill,
He is dead already who doth not feel
Life is worth living still.
ON A GRA VE, NOT OF THIS CENTURY
u Sacred to the memory of Oliver Barwood, also of Joan
HEY liv'd in a far generation ;
The stone hath a leaning of age —
A lichens matured incrustation
Has clouded the chisel-wrought page.
You picture them beings of quaintness,
(When drawn to the transient theme),
But, at best, indecision and faintness
Will cover the hues of your dream.
Ah, what of the once eager musing
As Power was added to Youth —
The Purpose of Life interfusing
Simplicity, Hope, and Truth ?
Ah, what of the Love-dawn's confession ?
That made their young spirits as light,
Thro' magnificent earnest expression,
As thine in the ball-room to-night :
And left them entranc'd with emotion,
Like delicate mosses that wave
To the passionate pulse of the ocean,
Afar in a luminous cave.
38 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Alas for the wonderful story,
If such may go down to the dust !
That the perfected wealth of its glory
Is future, oh courage and trust :
The chrysalid's transfiguration
Is never a meaningless law,
For the work of the God of creation
Admitteth not failure and flaw.
A CAROL FOR CHRISTMAS EVE
RAPED in frost, the evening deepens;
Gather, gather round the fire !
We will touch the early presence
Of the morn, and then retire.
From the massy ivied grandeur
Of the grey cathedral, swells
Music to the coming morrow,
In a peal of happy bells.
Sacred hours ! delay no longer,
Shed the blessing that ye bring,
Breathe abroad the love that lightened
Round the cradle of the King.
Long ago, the herald beacon
Glimmer'd over Eastern lands,
And a strange and sudden lustre
Lighted up the desert sands ;
NINETEENTH CENTURY 39
Men that moved amid the darkness.
When they caught the gleam afar,
Read the tidings of salvation
In the splendour of the star.
Sacred hours ! delay no longer,
Shed the blessing that ye bring,
Breathe abroad the love that lighten'd
Round the cradle of the King.
Faintly fell a golden whisper
Thro' the stillness of the morn,
Joyful words of blest assurance,
" Unto us a child is born : "
And a sweet seraphic anthem
From the vault of heaven came,
Voices of unnumber'd angels,
Hymning the Almighty's name.
Sacred hours ! delay no longer,
Shed the blessing that ye bring,
Breathe abroad the love that lighten'd
Round the cradle of the King.
Time is flowing onward, onward
In a swift and chilly stream ;
Change effaces all we cherish,
Earth is passing like a dream ;
O the great eternal Christmas !
O the rapture ! when we meet,
Members of a scatter' d household,
In a circle all complete.
40 SACRED POEMS
Sacred moments ! cease to linger,
Sad and starless is the night,
Melancholy mists enfold us,
We are longing for the light.
HRUSH, sing clear, for the spring is
Sing, for the summer is near, is near,
All day long thou hast plied thy song,
Hardly hid from the hurrying throng :
Now the shade of the trees is laid
Down the meadow and up the glade :
Now when the air grows cool and rare
Birds of the cloister fall to prayer :
Here is the bed of the patient dead,
Shoulder by shoulder, head by head.
Sweet bells swing in the tower, and ring
Men to worship before their King.
See they come as the grave bells hum,
Restless voices awhile are dumb :
More and more on the sacred floor
Feet that linger about the door :
42 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Sweet sounds swim through the vaulting dim,
Psalm and Canticle, Vesper hymn.
That is the way that mortals pray :
Which is the sweeter ? brown bird, say !
Which were best for me ? both are blest ;
Sing thy sweetest and leave the rest.
ONE BY ONE
NE by one, as evening closes,
Droop the flowers that drank the
See, they sleep, my weary roses,
One by one :
Never did I bend above you,
O my flowers, while all was bright ;
There is time, I said, to love you
Ere the night.
You were neither watched nor tended,
Fevered thoughts were mine instead,
Now the weary day is ended ; —
You are dead.
Now I come in dumb disorder,
Seek and search, in wild regret.
If one rose in bed or border
NINETEENTH CENTURY 43
Nay, they slumber till the morrow !
Hasten homewards : bar the gate.
Through the cold dark hours of sorrow
I will wait.
WHEN PUNCTUAL DAWN
WHEN punctual dawn came o'er the
In orange veiled and tender blue,
Wan in the dark field gleamed the rill,
The dusky hedge was gemmed with dew.
And patient sheep from folded feet
Rose one by one, alert for food,
And one by one, so small and sweet,
The flattened grass-stems stirred and stood.
And I too rose, and stepping down
Drank deep the invigorating air,
And scanned the little sleeping town,
And thanked my God that I was there.
REV. THOMAS BINNEY
TERNAL Light ! eternal Light !
How pure the soul must be,
When, placed within Thy searching
It shrinks not, but with calm delight,
Can live and look on Thee !
The spirits that surround Thy throne
May bear the burning bliss ;
But that is surely theirs alone,
Since they have never, never known
A fallen world like this.
O ! how shall I, whose native sphere
Is dark, whose mind is dim,
Before the Ineffable appear,
And on my naked spirit bear
The uncreated beam ?
There is a way for man to rise
To that sublime abode : —
An offering and a sacrifice,
A Holy Spirit's energies,
An Advocate with God : —
SACRED POEMS 45
These, these prepare us for the sight
Of Holiness above :
The sons of ignorance and night
May dwell in the Eternal Light
Through the Eternal Love !
HOU must be true thyself,
If thou the truth woulclst teach
Thy soul must overflow, if thou
Another's soul wouldst reach !
It needs the overflow of heart
To give the lips full speech.
Think truly, and thy thoughts
Shall the world's famine feed ;
Speak truly, and each word of thine
Shall be a fruitful seed ;
Live truly, and thy life shall be
A great and noble creed.
REST, WEARY SOUL
REST, weary soul !
The penalty is borne, the ransom paid
For all thy sins full satisfaction made;
Strive not to do thyself what Christ has
Claim the free gift, and make the joy thine
No more by pangs of guilt and fear distrest,
Rest, sweetly rest !
Rest, weary heart,
From all thy silent griefs, and secret pain,
Thy profitless regrets, and longings vain ;
Wisdom and love have ordered all the past,
All shall be blessedness and light at last ;
Cast off the cares that have so long opprest ;
Rest, sweetly rest !
Rest, weary head !
Lie down to slumber in the peaceful tomb :
Light from above has broken through its
Here, in the place where once thy Saviour
Where He shall wake thee on a future day
Like a tired child upon its mother's breast,
Rest, sweetly rest !
48 SACRED POEMS
Rest, spirit free !
In the green pastures of the heavenly snore,
Where sin and sorrow can approach no more,
With all the flock by the Good Shepherd fed,
Beside the streams of Life eternal led,
For ever with thy God and Saviour blest,
Rest, sweetly rest !
IN MEMORY OF A HAPPY DAY IN
LESSED be Thou for all the joy
My soul has felt to-day !
Oh, let its memory stay with me,
And never pass away !
1 was alone, for those I loved
Were far away from me ;
The sun shone on the withered grass,
The wind blew fresh and free.
Was it the smile of early spring
That made my bosom glow ?
Tvvas sweet ; but neither sun nor wind
Could cheer my spirit so.
Was it some feeling of delight
All vague and undefined ?
No ; 'twas a rapture deep and strong,
Expanding in the mind.
Was it a sanguine view of life,
And all its transient bliss,
A hope of bright prosperity ?
Oh, no ! it was not this.
50 SACRED POEMS OF THE
It was a glimpse of truth divine
Unto my spirit given,
Illumined by a ray of light
That shone direct from heaven.
I felt there was a God on high,
By whom all things were made ;
I saw His wisdom and His power
In all His works displayed.
But most throughout the moral world,
I saw His glory shine ;
I saw His wisdom infinite,
His mercy all divine.
Deep secrets of His providence,
In darkness long concealed,
Unto the vision of my soul
Were graciously revealed.
But while I wondered and adored
His Majesty divine,
I did not tremble at His power :
I felt that God was mine.
I knew that my Redeemer lived ;
I did not fear to die ;
Full sure that I should rise again
NINETEENTH CENTURY 51
I longed to view that bliss divine,
Which eye hath never seen ;
Like Moses, I would see His face
Without the veil between.
THE NARROW WAY
ELI EVE not those who say
The upward path is smooth,
Lest thou shouldst stumble in the
And faint before the truth.
It is the only road
Unto the realms of joy ;
But he who seeks that blest abode
Must all his powers employ.
Bright hopes and pure delight
Upon his course may beam,
And there amid the sternest heights,
The sweetest flowerets gleam.
On all her breezes borne,
Earth yields no scents like those ;
But he that dares not grasp the thorn
Should never crave the rose.
52 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Arm — arm thee for the fight !
Cast useless loads away ;
Watch through the darkest hours of night ;
Toil through the hottest day.
Crush pride into the dust,
Or thou must needs be slack ;
And trample down rebellious lust,
Or it will hold thee back.
Seek not thy honour here ;
Waive pleasure and renown ;
The world's dread scoff undaunted bear,
And face its deadliest frown.
To labour and to love,
To pardon and endure,
To lift thy heart to God above,
And keep thy conscience pure ;
Be this thy constant aim,
Thy hope, thy chief delight ;
What matter who should whisper blame
Or who should scorn or slight ?
What matter, if thy God approve,
And if, within thy breast,
Thou feel the comfort of His love,
The earnest of His rest?
NINETEENTH CENTURY 53
MOURN with thee, and yet rejoice
That thou shouldst sorrow so ;
With angel choirs I join my voice
To bless the sinner's woe.
Though friends and kindred turn away,
And laugh thy grief to scorn ;
I hear the great Redeemer say,
" Blessed are ye that mourn."
Hold on thy course, nor deem it strange
That earthly cords are riven :
Man may lament the wondrous change,
But M there is joy in heaven ! '
WE take from life one little share,
And say that this shall be
A space, redeemed from toil and
From tears and sadness free.
And, haply, Death unstrings his bow
And Sorrow stands apart,
And, for a little while, we know
The sunshine of the heart.
Existence seems a summer eve,
Warm, soft, and full of peace,
Our free, unfettered feelings give
The soul its full release.
A moment, then, it takes the power
To call up thoughts that throw
Around that charmed and hallowed hour.
This life's divinest glow.
But Time, though viewlessly it flies,
And slowly, will not stay ;
Alike, through clear and clouded skies,
It cleaves its silent way.
SACRED POEMS 55
Alike the bitter cup of grief,
Alike the draught of bliss,
Its progress leaves but moment brief
For baffled lips to kiss.
The sparkling draught is dried away,
The hour of rest is gone,
And urgent voices, round us, say,
" Ho, lingerer, hasten on ! "
And has the soul, then, only gained,
From this brief time of ease,
A moments rest, when overstrained,
One hurried glimpse of peace ?
No, while the sun shone kindly o'er us,
And flowers bloomed around our feet,
While many a bud of joy before us
Unclosed its petals sweet, —
An unseen work within was plying ;
Like honey-seeking bee,
From flower to flower, unwearied, flying,
Laboured one faculty, —
Thoughtful for winter's future sorrow,
Its gloom and scarcity
Prescient to-day, of want to-morrow,
Toiled quiet Memory.
56 SACRED POEMS
Tis she that from each transient pleasure
Extracts a lasting good ;
'Tis she that finds, in summer, treasure
To serve for winter's food.
And when Youth's summer day is vanished,
And age brings winter's stress,
Her stores with hoarded sweets replenished,
Life's evening hours will bless
THE LAST LINES WRITTEN BY
NO coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world's storm-
troubled sphere :
I see heaven's glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from
O God within my breast,
Almighty, ever-present Deity !
Life — that in me has rest,
As I — undying Life — have pow er in thee !
Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts : unutterably vain ;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,
To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thine infinity ;
So surely anchored on
The stedfast rock of immortality.
With wide embracing love
Thy spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears.
58 SACRED POEMS
Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes cease to be,
And Thou were left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.
There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void :
Thou — Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.
REV. R. S. BROOKE, D.D.
LIGHT AND SHADE
I WOULD fain enjoy the sunshine,
Yet the shadow ever falls,
Something dark within, without me,
Casts it on my prison walls ;
Then I questioned with my spirit,
" Wherefore is thy day so dim,
When God's light is all around thee,
And its source is all in Him?'
And my spirit maketh answer,
" Yes God's light is all on earth,
Like a river brimming over
From the fountain of its birth ;
Spite of all men's aberrations,
Scathe and sorrow, shame and strife,
Like a sunlit sea it ripples
Ever up the shores of life."
Then I answered to my spirit,
" If God's light indeed be so,
Like a fountain in its fulness,
Like""a sea-tide in its flow !
Then the fault is mine, inherent
In this dark and heavy clay,
Kneaded up throughout my nature,
Barring thus the light of day ;
60 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Yet the glory, unattainted,
Rests on all that round us lies,
On the lily's silver chalice,
On the rosebuds crimson dyes,
On the green and flashing billow
Bursting all in balls of light,
On the thousand diamond dew-drops
Weeping for the parted night."
Then resumed my spirit, " Surely
These things have their shadows too,
Time will dim the lily's lustre,
Turn to dust the rosebud's hue ;
Underneath the bright green billow
Blanch the million bones of men ;
Come and seek the dew at noon-day
Will you find its sparkle then ?
Yet God's light is still around us,
Shining on with temper'd ray,
Through the many mists and sorrows
That obscure His people's way.
And, bethink you how the Saviour
Walked in shadow all His years —
Was He not 4 with grief acquainted ' ?
Was He not a 4 man of tears ' ? '
Then I answered to my spirit
" If my Master wore the gloom
NINETEENTH CENTURY 61
Ere He won the glory, may I
Humbly then His part assume ;
Still through light and shade press onward.
With a soul serene and tender,
Till the golden bells of heaven
Ring me in to cloudless splendour.
SPEAK low to me, my Saviour, low and
From out the hallelujahs, sweet and
Lest I should fear and fall, and miss Thee so
Who art not missed by any that entreat.
Speak to me as to Mary at Thy feet —
And if no precious gums my hands bestow
Let my tears drop like amber, while I go
In reach of Thy divinest voice complete
In humanest affliction — thus, in sooth,
To lose the sense of losing ! As a child,
Whose song-bird seeks the wood for evermore,
\% sung to in its stead by mother's mouth ;
Till, sinking on her breast, love-reconciled,
He sleeps the faster that he wept before.
CHEERFULNESS TAUGHT BY
I THINK we are too ready with complaint
In this fair world of God's. Had we no
Indeed beyond the zenith and the slope
Of yon grey blank of sky, we might be faint
SACRED POEMS 63
To muse upon eternity's constraint
Round our aspirant souls. But since the
Must widen early, is it well to droop,
For a few days consumed in loss and taint ?
O pusillanimous Heart, be comforted, —
And, like a cheerful traveller, take the road,
Singing beside the hedge. What if the bread
Be bitter in thine inn, and thou unshod
To meet the flints ? — At least it may be
"Because the wav is short, I thank Thee,
LIGHT human nature is too lightly tost
And ruffled without cause ; complain-
ing on —
Restless with rest — until, being overthrown,
It learneth to lie quiet. Let a frost
Or a small wasp have crept to the innermost
Of our ripe peach ; or let the wilful sun
Shine westward of our window, — straight we
A furlong's sigh, as if the world were lost.
But what time through the heart and through
God hath transfixed us, — we, so moved before.
64 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Attain to a calm. Ay, shouldering weights of
We anchor in deep waters, safe from shore ;
And hear, submissive, o'er the stormy main,
God's chartered judgments walk for evermore.
'* He giveth His beloved sleep." — Psalm cxxvli. 2.
OF all the thoughts of God that are
Born inward unto souls afar,
Along the Psalmists music deep,
Now tell me if that any is,
For gift or grace, surpassing this —
" He giveth His beloved, sleep w ?
What would we give to our beloved? —
The hero's heart, to be unmoved,
The poet's star-tuned harp, to sweep,
The patriot's voice, to teach and rouse,
The monarch' s crown, to light the brows. —
44 He giveth His beloved, sleep."
What do we give to our beloved ? —
A little faith, all undisproved,
A little dust, to overweep,
And bitter memories, to make
The whole earth blasted for our sake. —
44 He giveth His beloved, sleep."
NINETEENTH CENTURY 65
" Sleep soft, beloved ! '" we sometimes say,
But have no tune to charm away
Sad dreams that through the eyelids creep :
But never doleful dream again
Shall break the happy slumber, when
** He giveth His beloved, sleep."
O earth, so full of dreary noises !
O men, with wailing in your voices !
O delved gold, the wailers heap !
O strife, O curse, that o'er it fall !
God makes a silence through you all,
And "giveth His beloved, sleep/'
His dews drop mutely on the hill,
His cloud above it saileth still,
Though on its slope men sow and reap.
More softly than the dew is shed,
Or cloud is floated overhead,
4 He giveth His beloved, sleep."
Yea, men may wonder while they scan
A living, thinking, feeling man,
Confirmed, in such a rest to keep ;
But angels say — and through the word
I think their happy smile is heard —
"He giveth His beloved, sleep."
66 SACRED POEMS
For me, my heart that erst did go
Most like a tired child at a show,
That sees through tears the jugglers leap, —
Would now its wearied vision close,
Would childlike on His love repose,
Who "giveth His beloved, sleep/'
And, friends, dear friends, — when shall it be
That this low breath is gone from me,
And round my bier ye come to weep,
Let one, most loving of you all,
Say, " Not a tear must o'er her fall —
He giveth His beloved, sleep."
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT
TO him who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms,
A various language ; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness ere he is aware. When
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at
heart ; —
Go forth, under the open sky, and list
To Nature's teachings, while from all around —
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air —
Comes a still voice : Yet a few days and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course ; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
68 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix forever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy
Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, — nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie
With patriarchs of the infant world — with
The powerful of the earth — the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun ; the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between ;
The venerable woods ; rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green ; and, poured
Old ocean's gray and melancholy waste, —
Are but the solemn decorations all
NINETEENTH CENTURY 69
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom. — Take the wings
Of morning, traverse Barca's desert sands,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,
Save his own dashings — yet the dead are
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them
In their last sleep ; the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw
In silence from the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure ? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone ; the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one as before will chase
His favourite phantom ; yet all these shall
Their mirth and their employments, and shall
And make their bed with thee. As the long
Of ages glide away, the sons of men,
The youth in life's green spring, and he who
70 SACRED POEMS OF THE
In the full strength of years, matron, and maid,
And the sweet babe, and the gray-headed
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,
Bv those who in their turn shall follow them.
So live, that when thy summons comes to
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
» BLESSED ARE THEY
H, deem not they are blest alone
Whose lives a peaceful tenor keep ;
The Power who pities man has shown
A blessing for the eyes that weep.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 71
The light of smiles shall fill again
The lids that overflow with tears ;
And weary hours of woe and pain
Are promises of happier years.
There is a day of sunny rest
For every dark and troubled night ;
And grief may bide an evening guest,
But joy shall come with early light.
And thou, who, o'er thy friend's low bier,
Sheddest the bitter drops of rain,
Hope that a brighter, happier sphere
Will give him to thy arms again.
Nor let the good man's trust depart,
Though life its common gifts deny,
Though with a pierced and bleeding heart
And spurned of men, he goes to die.
For God hath marked each sorrowing day
And numbered every secret tear,
And heaven's long age of bliss shall pay
For all His children suffer here.
REV. R. W. BUCKLEY, D.D.
HO may tell how often sorrow
Cometh at the close of day ;
Sorrow for the sinful record
Borne by passing time away ;
Sorrow for good resolutions
Broken in the toil of life ;
For the Christian's weapons tarnished,
Blunted in the daily strife ;
For the weakly heart's backsliding
In the journey to its bourne ;
For the dulness of the spirit
Dwelling in its carnal urn.
Yet this sorrow bringeth comfort,
When it bends the contrite knee
In an act of heartfelt worship,
In a deep humility.
Then it is the blest forerunner
Of a grace that steals always,
With refreshing to the spirit,
Changing sighs to songs of praise.
Sorrow such as this be ever
Welcome to this heart of mine,
Through such tears a hopeful rainbow
O'er my future path doth shine ;
Minister of heaven's giving,
Messenger to clear the way,
Till the love of God descending
Teaches all my soul to pray.
And, in answer, such a measure
Of His strength divine comes down,
That my spirit more than ever
Strives to win and wear the crown.
Godly sorrow, oft come hither
On the stilly wings of eve,
Such a holy joy attends thee
That it is a bliss to grieve.
LENT marks the Spring : It is the Spring
That primal rain which fell at Eden's
From our first parents 1 hearts disconsolate,
Now wept anew, for that the Cross appears
Down the long vista of the forty days ;
That while the reverent heart in sad amaze,
Upon the Symbol that Faith's hand uprears,
In lowly hope, and voiceless love doth gaze
Until glad victory comes and clothes it round
Lent is a wilderness, a lonely place
To hide our souls in from the giddy throng ;
We sit outside of Eden mourning long
74 SACRED POEMS
Our lost estate, our ancient Fall from Grace ;
We sit and weep beside the Cross of shame
Alone and wear the days out in self-blame :
But Jesus turns on us His pitying face.
We are His sheep. He calleth us by name,
And comforts dwell where sorrows erewhile
went and came.
AT D1V1SE DISPOSAL
OH, leave thyself to God ! and if, indeed,
Tis given thee to perform so vast a
Think not at all — think not, but kneel and ask.
O friend, by thought was never creature freed
From any sin, from any mortal need :
Be patient ! not by thought canst thou devise
What course of life for thee is right and wise ;
It will be written up, and thou wilt read.
Oft like a sudden pencil of rich light,
Piercing the thickest umbrage of the wood,
Will shoot, amid our troubles infinite,
The spirit's voice ; oft, like the balmy flood
Of morn, surprise the universal night
With glory, and make all things sweet and
ANNE S. BUSHBY
" Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest." — Matt. xi. 25.
THIS were a world of darkness, sin,
But for the mercies that from Jesus
He hath taught us in life's bitterest hour
To trust alike His pity and His pow'r.
Mighty to save, and mighty to destroy,
How shall we thank Him, that from realms of
Of unimaginable glory, He
Would deign our earth to visit, to make free
From Satan's chains our all-degraded race,
And bring us promise of redeeming grace ?
How shall we thank our Saviour and our
By gratefully believing in His word ;
By humbly trusting in His proffer' d aid,
Casting our cares on Him. Hath He not
" Come unto me, all ye that are oppressed
And heavy laden, I will give you rest M ?
Our Saviour asks but this : Come unto Him ;
Come unto Him with faith ; though eyes be
SACRED POEMS 77
With lonely weeping — hearts be broken r
Beneath a load of grief — and cheeks be flush'd
With shame at former guilt — He can release
Fron sin's dark triumph ; He can calm to
The troubled mind, and with a holy light
Illume the tearful eye. Shall mortals slight
That invitation given by heavenly love ?
Shall they reject that message from above ?
Let us look to life beyond the grave,
And timely fly to Him whose pow'r alone cart
ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH
4 O THOU OF LITTLE FAITH"
IT may be true
That while we walk the troublous tossing
That when we see the oertopping waves
And when we feel our feet beneath us sink,
There are who walk beside us ; and the cry
That rises so spontaneous to the lips,
The M Help us or we perish," is not nought,
An evanescent spectrum of disease.
It may be that indeed and not in fancy,
A hand that is not ours upstays our steps,
A voice that is not ours commands the waves,
Commands the waves and whispers in our
" O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt ? "
At any rate,
That there are beings above us, I believe,
And when we lift up holy hands of prayer,
I will not say they will not give us aid.
GOD IS LOVE
WHY comes this fragrance on the
The blended tribute of ten thousand
To me, a frequent wanderer 'mid the trees
That form these gay, though solitary bowers ?
One answer is around, beneath, above ;
The echo of the voice, that God is Love !
Why bursts such melody from tree and
The overflowing of each songster's heart,
So filling mine, that it can scarcely hush
Awhile to listen, but would take its part ?
'Tis but one song I hear where'er I rove,
Though countless be the notes, that God is
Why leaps the streamlet down the mountain's
Hastening so swiftly to the vale beneath,
To cheer the shepherd's thirsty flock, or glide
Where the hot sun has left a faded wreath,
Or, rippling, aid the music of the grove?
Its own glad voice replies, that God is Love !
80 SACRED POEMS OF THE
In starry heavens, at the midnight hour,
In ever-varying hues at morning's dawn,
In the fair bow athwart the falling shower,
In forest, river, lake, rock, hill, and lawn,
One truth is written : all conspire to prove,
What grace of old reveal'd, that God is Love!
Nor less this pulse of health, far glancing eye.
And heart so moved with beauty, perfume,
This spirit, soaring through a gorgeous sky,
Or diving ocean's coral caves among,
Fleeter than darting fish or startled dove ;
All, all declare the same, that God is Love !
Is it a fallen world on which I gaze ?
Am I as deeply fallen as the rest,
Yet joys partaking, past my utmost praise,
Instead of wandering forlorn, unblest ?
It is as if an unseen spirit strove
To grave upon my heart, that God is Love !
Yet wouldst thou see, my soul, this truth
In characters which wondering angels read
And read, adoring ; go, imploring aid
To gaze with faith, behold the Saviour bleed!
Thy God, in human form ! O, what can prove.
If this suffice thee not that God is Love?
NINETEENTH CENTURY 81
Cling to His cross ; and let thy ceaseless
Be, that thy grasp may tail not ! and, ere long,
Thou shalt ascend to that fair Temple, where
In strains ecstatic an innumerous throng
Of saints and seraphs, round the Throne above,
Proclaim for evermore, that God is Love !
" The dead hand clasped a letter." — Special Correspon-
ERE in this leafy place,
Quiet he lies,
Cold, with his sightless face
Turned to the skies ;
Tis but another dead ;
All you can say is said.
Carry his body hence, —
Kings must have slaves ;
Kings climb to eminence
Over men's graves :
So this man's eye is dim ; —
Throw the earth over him.
What was the white you touched,
There, at his side ?
Paper his hand had clutched
Tight ere he died ;
Message or wish, may be ; —
Smooth the folds out and see.
Hardly the worst of us
Here could have smiled ! —
SACRED POEMS 83
Only the tremulous
Words of a child ; —
Prattle that has for stops
Just a few ruddy drops.
Look. She is sad to miss,
Morning and night,
His — her dead father's — kiss ;
Tries to be bright,
Good to mamma, and sweet.
That is all. M Marguerite."
Ah, if beside the dead
Slumbered the pain !
Ah, if the hearts that bled
Slept with the slain !
If the grief died ; — But no ; —
Death will not have it so.
LORD, I have knelt and tried to pray
But Thy love came upon me like a
And all desire died out ; upon the deep
Of Thy mere love I lay, each thought in light
Dissolving like the sunset clouds, at rest
Each tremulous wish, and my strength, weak-
As a sick boy with soon o'erwearied feet
Finds, yielding him unto his mother's breast
To weep for weakness there. I could not pray,
But with closed eyes I felt Thy bosom's love
Beating toward mine, and then I would not
Till of itself the joy should pass away ;
At last my heart found voice, — " Take me, O
And do with me according to Thy word."
I SAID, " I will find God," and forth I went
To seek Him in the clearness of the sky
But over me stood unendurably
Only a pitiless, sapphire firmament
SACRED POEMS 85
Ringing the world, — blank splendour ; yet
Still to find God, M I will go seek,^ said I,
" His way upon the waters," and drew nigh
An ocean marge weed-strewn, and foam-
And the waves dashed on idle sand and stone
And very vacant was the long, blue sea ;
But in the evening as I sat alone,
My window open to the vanishing day,
Dear God ! I could not choose but kneel and
And it sufficed that I was found of Thee.
THE HEA VEX OF HE A VENS CANNOT
HE Heaven of Heavens cannot contain
The Universal Lord ;
Yet He, in humble hearts, will deign
To dwell, and be adored.
Where'er ascends the sacrifice
Of fervent praise and prayer,
Or on the earth, or in the skies,
The Heaven of God is there.
His presence there is spread abroad,
Through realms, through worlds unknown ;
Who seeks the mercies of his God,
Is ever near His throne.
o lamp OF urn
OLA .MP of Life ! that on the bloody C
Dost hang, the Beacon of our wan-
To guide us homeward to our resting-plac .
And save our best wealth from eternal loss !
purge my inward sight from earthly drott,
That, fix'd upon Thy Cross, or near or far.
In all the storms this weary- bark that tos
(Whate er be lost in that tempestuous war.)
Thee 1 retain, my Compass and my Star !
That, when arrived upon the wish'd-for strand,
I pass of death th' irrevocable bar.
And at the gate of Heaven trembling stand,
The everlasting doors may open wide.
And give Thee to my sight. God glorified'.
THE DEATH OF MOSES
MOSES, who spake with God as with
And ruled his people with the two-
Of wisdom that can dare and still be meek,
Was writing his last word, the sacred name
Unutterable of that Eternal Will
Which was and is and evermore shall be.
Yet was his task not finished, for the flock
Needed its shepherd and the life-taught sage
Leaves no successor ; but to chosen men,
The rescuers and guides of Israel,
A death was given called the Death of Grace,
Which freed them from the burden of the flesh
But left them rulers of the multitude
And loved companions of the lonely. This
Was God's last gift to Moses, this the hour
When soul must part from self and be but soul.
God spake to Gabriel, the messenger
Of mildest death that draws the parting life
Gently, as when a little rosy child
Lifts up its lips from off the bowl of milk
And so draws forth a curl that dipped its gold
In the soft white — Thus Gabriel draws the soul,
' Go bring the soul of Moses unto me ! v
SACRED POEMS 89
And the awe-stricken angel answered, " Lord,
How shall I dare to take his life who lives
Sole of his kind, not to be likened once
In all the generations of the earth ? "
Then God called Michael, him of pensive
Snow-vest and flaming sword, who knows and
44 Go bring the spirit of Moses unto Me ! ' 1
But Michael with such grief as angels feel,
Loving the mortals whom they succour, pled :
44 Almighty, spare me ; it was I who taught
Thy servant Moses ; he is part of me
As I of Thy deep secrets, knowing them."
Then God called Zamael, the terrible,
The angel of fierce death, of agony
That comes in battle and in pestilence
Remorseless, sudden or with lingering throes.
And Zamael, his raiment and broad wings
Blood-tinctured, the dark lustre of his eyes
Shrouding the red, fell like the gathering night
Before the prophet. But that radiance
Won from the heavenly presence in the mount
Gleamed on the prophet's brow and dazzling
Its conscious opposite : the angel turned
His murky gaze aloof and inly said :
44 An angel this, deathless to angel's stroke."
90 SACRED POEMS OF THE
But Moses felt the subtly nearing dark : —
44 Who art thou ? and what wilt thou ? ' Zamael
4k 1 am God's reaper ; through the fields of life
I gather ripened and unripened souls
Both willing and unwilling. And I come
Now to reap thee." But Moses cried,
Firm as a seer who waits the trusted sign :
" Reap thou the fruitless plant and common
Not him who from the womb was sanctified
To teach the law of purity and love.* 1
And Zamael baffled from his errand fled.
But Moses, pausing, in the air serene
Heard now that mystic whisper, far yet near,
The all-penetrating voice, that said to him,
" Moses, the hour is come and thou must die."
" Lord, I obey ; but thou rememberest
How thou, Ineffable, didst take me once
Within thy orb of light untouched by death."
Then the voice answered, " Be no more afraid :
With me shall be thy death and burial."
So Moses waited, ready now to die.
And the Lord came, invisible as a thought,
Three angels gleaming on his secret track,
Prince Michael, Zagael, Gabriel, charged to
The soul-forsaken bodv as it fell
NINETEENTH CENTURY 91
And bear it to the hidden sepulchre
Denied for ever to the search of man.
And the Voice said to Moses : 44 Close thine
He closed them. M Lay thine hand upon thine
And draw thy feet together." He obeyed.
And the Lord said, "O spirit! child of mine!
A hundred years and twenty thou hast dwelt
Within this tabernacle wrought of clay.
This is the end : Come forth and flee to heaven."
But the grieved soul with plaintive pleading
44 1 love this body with a clinging love :
The courage fails me, Lord, to part from it."
44 O child, come forth ! for thou shalt dwell
About the immortal throne where seraphs joy
In growing vision and in growing love."
Yet hesitating, fluttering, like the bird
With young wing weak and dubious, the soul
Stayed. But behold ! upon the death-dewed lips
A kiss descended, pure, unspeakable —
The bodiless Love without embracing Love
That lingered in the body, drew it forth
With heavenly strength and carried it to
92 SACRED POEMS OF THE
But now beneath the sky the watchers all,
Angels that keep the homes of Israel
Or on high purpose wander o'er the world
Leading the Gentiles, felt a dark eclipse :
The greatest ruler among men was gone.
And from the westward sea was heard a wail,
A dirge as from the isles of Javanim,
Crying, "Who now is left upon the earth
Like him to teach the right and smite the
And from the East, far o'er the Syrian waste,
Came slowlier, sadlier, the answering dirge :
" No prophet like him lives or shall arise
In Israel or the world for evermore."
But Israel waited, looking toward the mount,
Till with the deepening eve the elders came
Saying, " His burial is hid with God.
We stood far off and saw the angels lift
His corpse aloft until they seemed a star
That burnt itself away within the sky."
The people answered with mute orphaned
Looking for what had vanished evermore.
Then through the gloom without them and
The spirit's shaping light, mysterious speech,
Invisible Will wrought clear in sculptured
NINETEENTH CENTURY 93
The thought-begotten daughter of the voice,
Thrilled on their listening sense : " He has no
He dwells not with you dead, but lives as
FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER
THAT music breathes all through my
As the breezes blow through a tree ;
And my soul gives light as it quivers,
Like moons on a tremulous sea.
New passions are wakened within me,
New passions that have not a name ;
Dim truths that I knew but as phantoms
Stand up clear and bright in the flame :
And my soul is possessed with yearnings,
Which make my life broaden and swell ;
And I hear strange things that are soundless,
And I see the invisible.
Oh silence that clarion in mercy, —
For it carries my soul away ;
And it whirls my thoughts out beyond me,
Like the leaves on an autumn day.
O exquisite tyranny ! silence, —
My soul slips from under my hand,
And as if by instinct is fleeing
To a dread unvisited land.
SACRED POEMS 95
Is it sound, or fragrance, or vision ?
Vocal light wavering down from above?
Past prayer and past praise I am floating
Down the rapids of speechless love.
I strove, but the sweet sounds have conquered:
Within me the Past is awake ;
The Present is grandly transfigured ;
The Future is clear as day-break.
Now Past, Present, Future have mingled
A new sort of Present to make ;
And my life is all disembodied,
Without time, without space, without break.
But my soul seems floating for ever
In an orb of ravishing sounds,
Through faint-falling echoes of heavens,
'Mid beautiful earths without bounds.
Now sighing, as zephyrs in summer,
The concords glide in like a stream,
With a sound that is almost a silence,
Or the soundless sounds in a dream.
Then oft, when the music is faintest,
My soul has a storm in its bowers,
Like the thunder among the mountains,
Like the wind in the abbey towers.
96 SACRED POEMS OF THE
There are sounds, like flakes of snow falling
In their silent and eddying rings ;
We tremble, — they touch us so lightly,
Like the feathers from angels' wings.
There are pauses of marvellous silence,
That are full of significant sound,
Like music echoing music
Under water or under ground.
That clarion again ! through what valleys
Of deep inward life did it roll,
Ere it blew that astonishing trumpet
Right down in the caves of my soul ?
My mind is bewildered with echoes, —
Not all from the sweet sounds without !
But spirits are answering spirits
In a beautiful muffled shout.
Oh cease then, wild horns ! I am fainting ;
If ye wail so, my heart will break ;
Someone speaks to me in your speaking
In a language I cannot speak.
Though the sounds ye make are all foreign,
How native, how household they are ;
The tones of old homes mixed with heaven.
The dead and the angels, speak there.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 97
Dear voices that long have been silenced,
Come clear from their peaceable land,
Come toned with unspeakable sweetness
From the Presence in which they stand.
Or is music the inarticulate
Speech of the angels on earth ?
Or the voice of the Undiscovered
Bringing great truths to the birth ?
O music ! thou surely art worship ;
But thou art not like praise or prayer ;
And words make better thanksgiving
Than thy sweet melodies are.
There is in thee another worship,
An outflow of something divine !
For the voice of adoring silence,
If it could be a voice, were thine.
Thou art fugitive splendours made vocal,
As they glanced from that shining sea
Where the Vision is visible music,
Making music of spirits who see.
Thou, Lord ! art the Father of music;
Sweet sounds are a whisper from Thee ;
Thou hast made Thy creation all anthems,
Though it singeth them silentlv.
98 SACRED POEMS OF THE
But I guess by the stir of this music
What raptures in heaven can be.
Where the sound is Thy marvellous stillness.
And the music is light out of Thee.
COME TO JESUS
OULS of men ! why will ye scatter
Like a crowd of frightened sheep?
Foolish hearts ! why will ye wander
From a love so true and deep ?
Was there ever kindest shepherd
Half so gentle, half so sweet
As the Saviour who would have us
Come and gather round His feet ?
It is God : His love looks mighty,
But is mightier than it seems !
'Tis our Father : and His fondness
Goes far out beyond our dreams.
There's a wideness in Gods mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea :
There's a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than libertv.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 99
There is no place where earths sorrows
Are more felt than up in Heaven ;
There is no place where earth's failings
Have such kindly judgment given.
There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good ;
There is mercy with the Saviour ;
There is healing in His blood.
There is grace enough for thousands
Of new worlds as great as this ;
There is room for fresh creations
In that upper home of bliss.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measures of man's mind ;
And the Heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
But we make His love too narrow
By false limits of our own ;
And we magnify His strictness
With a zeal He will not own.
There is plentiful redemption
In the blood that has been shed ;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head.
100 SACRED POEMS OF THE
"Tis not all we owe to Jesus ;
It is something more than all ;
Greater good because of evil,
Larger mercy through the fall.
Pining souls ! come nearer Jesus,
And, oh come, not doubting thus,
But with faith that trusts more bravely
His vast tenderness for us.
If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word ;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.
THE RIGHT MUST WIN
H it is hard to work for God,
To rise and take His part
Upon this battlefield of earth,
And not sometimes lose heart !
He hides Himself so wondrously,
As though there were no God ;
He is least seen when all the powers
Of ill are most abroad.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 101
Or He deserts us at the hour
The fight is all but lost ;
And seems to leave us to ourselves
Just when we need Him most.
Yes, there is less to try our faith,
In our mysterious creed,
Than in the godless look of earth,
In these our hours of need.
Ill masters good ; good seems to change
To ill with greatest ease ;
And, worst of all, the good with good
Is at cross purposes.
It is not so, but so it looks ;
And we lose courage then ;
And doubts will come if God hath kept
His promises to men.
Ah ! God is other than we think ;
His ways are far above,
Far beyond reason's height, and reached
Only by child-like love.
The look, the fashion of God's ways
Love's lifelong study are ;
She can be bold, and guess, and act,
When reason would not dare.
102 SACRED POEMS OF THE
She has a prudence of her own ;
Her step is firm and free ;
Yet there is cautious science too
In her simplicity.
Workmen of God ! oh lose not heart,
But learn what God is like ;
And in the darkest battlefield
Thou shalt know where to strike.
Thrice blest is he to whom is given
The instinct that can tell
That God is on the field when He
Is most invisible.
Blest too is he who can divine
Where real right doth lie,
And dares to take the side that seems
Wrong to man's blindfold eye.
Then learn to scorn the praise of men,
And learn to lose with God ;
For Jesus won the world through shame,
And beckons thee His road.
God's glory is a wondrous thing,
Most strange in all its ways,
And, of all things on earth, least like
What men agree to praise.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 103
As He can endless glory weave
From what men reckon shame,
In His own world He is content
To play a losing game.
Muse on His justice, downcast soul !
Muse and take better heart ;
Back with thine angel to the field,
And bravely do thy part.
Gods justice is a bed, where we
Our anxious hearts may lay,
And, weary with ourselves, may sleep
Our discontent away.
For right is right, since God is God ;
And right the day must win ;
To doubt would be disloyalty,
To falter would be sin.
LOSS AND GAIN
I SORROWED that the golden day was
Its light no more the countryside adorn-
But whilst I grieved, behold ! — the East grew
I sighed that merry Spring was forced to go,
And doff the wreaths that did so well
become her ;
But whilst I murmured at her absence, lo !
I mourned because the daffodils were killed
By burning skies that scorched my early
But whilst for these I pined, mv hands were
Half broken-hearted I bewailed the end
Of friendships than which none had once
seemed nearer ;
But whilst I wept I found a newer friend.
SACRED POEMS 105
And thus I learned old pleasures are estranged
Only that something better may be given ;
Until at last we find this earth exchanged
MEANS AXO ESD
THE drops of water which have turned
Will ne'er come back to turn the
wheel again ;
The blossoms which have shed their rosy
Will nevermore the Spring's sweet promise
Yet still the miller slowly grinds to meal
His goodly stores of golden-tinted grain ;
And still the Spring returns to hill and plain.
And treads the dust to flowers beneath her
Fear ye not, therefore, lest the cause ye love
Should languish, when your tender toil-worn
Are crossed in peace beneath the daisied
The Means wax old and perishable prove —
The End endures eternally, and stands
Above the ages, face to face with God.
106 SACRED POEMS OF THE
WHEN the world to thee is new,
When its dazzling dreams deceive
Ere they pass like morning dew —
Faith retrieve thee !
When the glory fades away,
When of light the clouds bereave thee,
When the shadows mar the day —
Hope relieve thee !
When despair's destroying breath
Comes at eventide to grieve thee
With the bitterness of death —
Love reprieve thee !
When the bells at Curfew toll,
When the lingering sunbeams leave thee,
When the night o'erwhelms thy soul —
God receive thee !
THE BRETON FISHERMEN S PR A YER
EAR Lord, Thy sea is great — our
boats are small !"
So cry the fishers of the Northern
When God's high wind ariseth stormily,
Uplifting them before a sudden fall.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 107
Thus in distress we also oft-times call
When blindly beaten to and fro are we,
Far from the haven where we fain would be,
While wind-swept seas our melting hearts
And when for us the waves thereof are still,
And we would gladly help those storm-
Who yet are struggling 'neath the tempest's
Feeling the frailty of all human skill,
We humbly whisper while the thunder rolls,
" Dear Lord, our boats are small — Thy sea is
great ! "
STREAM AND LAKE
A STREAMLET started, singing sea-
war d-ho !
But found across the path its fancy
A stone which stopped it with the stern
" Thus far and never farther shalt thou go."
Then, where the tiny stream was wont to
A shining lake appeared with silver strand,
Refreshing flower-strewn fields on either
Reflecting starry skies and sunset glow.
108 SACRED POEMS OF THE
So oftentimes we find our progress stayed
By stones that bar the steps we fain had trod.
Whereat we murmur with a sense of
Unmindful that by means like this is made
That sea of glass where stand the saints of
To sing the new and never-ending song.
STRANGELY the wondrous story doth
Of that which came to pass on
Christmas Day —
44 The new-born babe within a manger lay
Because there was no room inside the inn/'
No room for Him Who came to conquer sin
And bid distress and mourning flee away !
So in the stable He was fain to stay
Whilst revelry and riot reigned within.
And still the same old tale is told again :
The world is full of greed and gain and
And has no room for God because of
Lord, though my heart be filled with joy or
Grant that it ne'er may find no room for
Like that benighted inn at Bethlehem !
NINETEENTH CENTURY 109
NOW certain women carved their names
That whosoever ran the same might
Cambridge was founded by Saint Ethel-
The holy daughter of an Anglian throne :
Saint Frideswide it was made Oxford known
By many a generous gift and godly deed :
Saint Hilda nobly helped Northumbrian
When Whitby's abbey to full height had
Wulfruna likewise chose the better part ;
And in the midst of this our Mercian plain
A stately minster to God's glory raised,
To prove thereafter to the thronging mart
That favour is deceitful, beauty vain,
But she that fears her Maker shall be
SUNSHINE AND SHADOW
ONE sunny day, as on my way I went,
And stooped to pluck the flowers I
loved so well,
I saw that on each bloom o'er which I bent,
My shadow fell ;
110 SACRED POEMS OF THE
But when my wandering glances left the
And travelled sunwards up the shafts of
The shadow fell behind me, and I found
That all was bright.
So when, with earthward gaze, we set our
On flowers beside life's pathway blooming
Whoever stoops to seize their beauties finds
A shadow there :
But if, with eyes uplifted, we are wont
To scan the heavenward stair the angels
Behind us is the shadow, and in front
The light of God.
James Fraser, Lord Bishop of Manchester
SO he has gone from us ! has gone for
Far, far beyond the reach of earthly
And left behind, to be forgotten never,
NINETEENTH CENTURY 111
We mourn him, but he does not heed our
Nor mark our hearts with grief for him
For now on him has dawned the grand to-
That shining light was his which never paleth.
But shineth on unto the perfect day ;
That charity was his which never faileth
Right bravely through the world his way he
Life's toils and conflicts now for him are
To Sion's Hill the victor has ascended
Now he has joined that throng of every nation
And tribe and kindred, who have fought the
And walk with Christ, their Captain of Salva-
He cannot hear the tones of weeping mortals,
For he is welcomed by the angels' cry :
" Lift up your heads, ye everlasting portals,
On high ! "
112 SACRED POEMS OF THE
He cannot heed our bitter lamentation,
For — bending low before the Great White
He hears the words of gracious commenda-
44 Well done ! "
PURPLE AND GOLD
THE golden corn and the purple heather
In royal state did the land enfold ;
And the children laughed in the sunny
And clapped their hands at the purple and
One short month passed, and brought with
it the sadness
Of Autumn winds and of Autumn rain,
And though still the children laughed in
They looked for the purple and gold in
I wondered whether their hearts were tender
And sad that such beauty had passed away.
So 1 asked them what had become of the
That crowned the country the other day.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 113
They smiled at my ignorance all unaided,
And told me a secret I ought to know —
How the purple and gold were not lost nor
But every year were obliged to go ;
For the purple and gold of the Summers
Were used to build, as the angels list,
A City on high, where the streets are golden,
And the walls are glowing with amethyst.
As I heard the children's quaint little story,
Methought that it brought a message to
For we all are sighing for faded glory,
And longing for pleasures beyond recall.
But the children should teach us to cease
And let our lives with fresh hopes be
There are no such things as losing and
For the dead are alive, and the lost are
The joys that we mourn in such deep dejec-
Were carried away by an angel hand,
114 SACRED POEMS OF THE
To make more fair in their full perfection
Our mansions prepared in the far-off land.
We shall find them again, all those treasures
Not one shall be wanting, not one be
In a City on high, where the streets are
And the walls are glowing with amethyst.
"GOLD AND FRANKINCENSE AND
ONE Christmas Day, in long-forgotten
A beggar wept exceeding bitter tears ;
For, whilst the thronging people went their
To God's own house to keep His holy day.
To deck with offerings meet the Saviour's
And praise with carols sweet the Babe divine.
So poor was he, he could not e'en afford
The humblest gift wherewith to greet his
NINETEENTH CENTURY 115
As, sad at heart, the weary beggar wept,
It chanced he fell asleep, and whilst he slept
He dreamed there passed before his tear-
Three men in strange and Oriental guise,
Who — guided by a bright and wondrous
Had left their Eastern home and travelled far,
And still were pressing onwards night and day
To reach the manger where the Saviour lay.
The first — a stately man of noble mien,
With wise and thoughtful eye and brow
Addressed the sleeper thus : " Pure gold I
To sacrifice before the new-born King."
Then spake the second — who was young and
4 A costly gift of frankincense I bear,
Distilled from all the sweetest things on earth,
And therefore meet to grace a Monarch's
The third — a weary traveller, worn and old —
Sighed : " I have neither frankincense nor
To me life brings the bitter, not the sweet,
And poor indeed I go my King to meet :
116 SACRED POEMS OF THE
1 ne'er have found pure gold without alloy,
Nor yet the frankincense of love and joy ;
Still all I have I give Him, and believe
That e'en my bitter myrrh he will receive."
An angel's voice made answer : " Blest are
Who dedicate their gold to God, and pray
That He thereof will fashion crowns of light
To wreathe their brows who well have fought
Twice blest are they who bring the costly
Of life's most precious gifts as sacrifice ;
For all such incense burnt before the Lord
One day a thousandfold shall be restored.
"Thrice blest are they who — having nought
To offer save the wormwood and the gall —
Lay down their sorrows 'neath their Saviour's
For He shall change their bitter into sweet,
His loving Hand shall wipe away their tears,
His gracious Smile dispel their doubts and
Eternal joy shall turn their night to day,
Whilst grief and sighing swiftly flee away."
NINETEENTH CENTURY 117
The beggar wept for joy : " Ah ! now I learn,"
He cried, M that even I may come in turn
To lay my gift before the new-born King,
Whose praises all the host of Heaven sing :
Some give Him costly gold, and some prefer
Sweet frankincense — I nought can bring but
Yet God my offering will not worthless deem."
The beggar woke — and lo ! it was a dream.
SAFE in the shelter of a lonely glen —
A refuge which the distant hum of men
Could reach but faintly —
Untouched by human blame or human praise
There dwelt in ancient, half-forgotten days
A hermit saintly.
With rapture was his spirit wont to burn ;
Each night of prayer was followed in its turn
By prayerful morrows :
He heeded not, in his exalted life,
The sordid cares of men, their paltry strife,
Their sins and sorrows.
118 SACRED POEMS OF THE
As he one Christmas-Eve his vigil kept,
Whilst Nature 'neath her snowy mantle slept,
He saw with wonder
An angel standing smiling by his side,
Whilst Heav'n to hosts seraphic opened wide
Its gates of thunder.
In silent awe the hermit bowed his head :
44 Fear not, my son," the angel sweetly said
In accents ringing ;
44 Our Christmas carol strive to learn by
And see if thou art fit to take thy part
In Heavens singing."
44 Glory to God ! n bright hosts of seraphs sang,
44 Glory to God ! ' the highest Heavens rang,
44 To God be glory ! "
44 Oh, angel ! H cried the hermit, growing bold,
44 This can I sing, for all my life has told
The self-same story."
The angel smiled — 44 And art thou then as fain
To sing the second part of Heaven's strain ? H
In tones sonorous
The white-robed carol-singers chanted then,
44 Peace on the earth, and good-will unto
men ! —
So ran the chorus.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 119
In tearful shame the hermit bowed his head :
" I cannot learn the angels' song/' he said,
44 Nor sing it duly ;
To God great glory I have ever given,
But yet to save mens souls I have not striven,
Nor loved them truly."
The angel answered gently, " Grieve not so !
Two things compose man's duty here below —
Thou hast the one done ;
In this thou hast not been of grace bereft,
Yet none the less thou shouldst not then
The other undone."
" Be comforted ! it is not yet too late ;
Ne'er closed to those who knock is Heaven's
Now do thy duty —
Love well thy fellow-creatures, and ere long
Thine own shall be the sweet seraphic song
In all its beauty."
The hermit straightway left his lonely glen,
And lived and worked amongst his fellow-men
Like holy leaven :
At last — the carol learnt — he ceased to roam,
And then the angels bore him safely home
To sing in Heaven.
120 SACRED POEMS
ONE day I grieved because our greatest
Grows pale beside the smallest loss
we feel ;
One hour of wrong can years of right
One faulty link can spoil the strongest chain ;
One little thorn can cause a cruel pain
That twice ten thousand roses cannot heal ;
One harsh discordant note can straightway
All harmony from e'en the sweetest strain.
To these my doubts there came an answer
" God's laws are right if rightly understood !
Man's patent of perfection lies in this,
That nought imperfect can his soul endure :
The highest natures seek the highest good
Till they are perfect as their Father is."
OH ! IF THE ATHEISTS WORDS
OH ! if the Atheists' words were true,
If those we seek to save
Sink — and in sinking from our view
Are lost beyond the grave !
If life thus closed — how dark and drear
Would this bewildered earth appear,
Scarce worth the dust it gave,
A tract of black sepulchral gloom,
One yawning, ever-opening tomb.
Blest be that strain of high belief,
More heaven-like, more sublime,
Which says, that they who part in grief,
Part only for a time !
That far beyond this speck of pain,
Far o'er the glooming grave's domain,
There spreads a brighter clime,
Where care and toil, and trouble o'er,
Friends meet, and, meeting, weep no more.
HOW better, Father, could we pray
Than thus at end of honest day,
Naked at heart, without pretence,
Secure in simple excellence,
A wife and husband, hand in hand,
At prayers among the sleeping band
Of angels whom Thy love hath lent
To bind our household sacrament ?
When better, Father, could we ask
Thy care than after righteous task,
The need well met, the dream refused,
The oil not spilled, the clean lamp used ?
Two grey-haired children kneel to Thee,
In suit for fresh felicity,
Whose married worship to Thine ear,
Allowed, parental, rises clear.
Nor wealth, nor place as gifts Divine
I ask to fall on sons of mine ;
But most of all, a nature sure
To share the heart with rich and poor.
O give them tears ! O make them feel
An inward energy to heal,
That never, full of frosty pride,
They pass upon the other side.
SACRED POEMS 123
Behold these children, Father, God,
Their strip of life so briefly trod ;
Their hearts unshaded by the gloom,
Their eyes scarce looking past a bloom.
To act as ministers in these
Implant such holy qualities
That they may march with love unspent,
And in Thy discipline content.
DAWN AND DARK
OD with His million cares
Went to the left or right,
Leaving our world ; and the day
Back from a sphere He came
Over a starry lawn,
Looked at our world, and the dark
END me my birds, and bring again
The brotherhood of woodland life,
So shall I wear the seasons round,
A friend to need, a foe to strife.
124 SACRED POEMS
Keep me my heritage of lawn,
And grant me, Father, till I die
The fine sincerity of light
And luxury of open sky.
So, learning always, may I find
My heaven around me everywhere
And go in hope from this to Thee,
The pupil of Thy country air.
RICHARD LE GALLIENNE
THE SECOND CRUCIEIXION
OUD mockers in the roaring street
Say Christ is crucified again :
Twice pierced His gospel-bringing feet,
Twice broken His great heart in vain.
I hear, and to myself I smile,
For Christ talks with me all the while.
No angel now to roll the stone
From off His unawaking sleep,
In vain shall Mary watch alone,
In vain the soldiers vigil keep.
Yet while they deem my Lord is dead
My eyes are on His shining head.
Ah ! never more shall Mary hear
That voice exceeding sweet and low
Within the garden calling clear :
Her Lord is gone, and she must go.
Yet all the while my Lord I meet
In every London lane and street.
Poor Lazarus shall wait in vain,
And Bartimaeus still go blind ;
The healing hem shall ne'er again
Be touched by suffering humankind.
126 SACRED POEMS
Yet all the while I see them rest,
The poor and outcast, in His breast.
No more unto the stubborn heart
With gentle knocking shall He plead,
No more the mystic pity start,
For Christ twice dead is dead indeed.
So in the street I hear men say,
Yet Christ is with me all the day.
SIR ROBERT GRANT
WHEN GATHERING CLOUDS
WHEN gathering clouds around I
And days are dark and friends are
On Him I lean, who not in vain
Experienced every human pain ;
He sees my wants, allays my fears,
And counts and treasures up my tears.
If aught should tempt my soul to stray
From heavenly wisdom's narrow way ;
To fly the good I would pursue,
Or do the sin I would not do ;
Still He, who felt temptation's power,
Shall guard me in that dangerous hour.
If wounded love my bosom swell,
Deceived by those I prized too well ;
He shall His pitying aid bestow,
Who felt on earth severer woe ;
At once betrayed, denied, or fled,
By those who shared His dailv bread.
If vexing thoughts within me rise,
And, sore dismayed, my spirit dies ;
128 SACRED POEMS
Still He, who once vouchsafed to bear
The sickening anguish of despair,
Shall sweetly soothe, shall gently dry,
The throbbing heart, the streaming eye.
When sorrowing o'er some stone I bend,
Which covers what was once a friend,
And from his voice, his hand, his smile,
Divides me for a little while ;
Thou, Saviour, mark'st the tears I shed,
For Thou didst weep o'er Lazarus dead !
And O ! when I have safely past
Through every conflict but the last ;
Still, still unchanging, watch beside
My painful bed, for Thou hast died !
Then point to realms of cloudless day,
And wipe the latest tear away !
FRANCIS RIDLEY HAVERGAL
JULY ON THE MOUNTAINS
THERE is sultry gloom on the mountain
And a sultry glow beneath.
Oh for a breeze from the western sea,
Soft and reviving, sweet and free,
Over the shadowless hill and lea,
Over the barren heath !
There are clouds and darkness around God's
And the noon of life grows hot ;
And though His faithfulness standeth fast
As the mighty mountains, a shroud is cast
Over its glory, solemn and vast,
Veiling, but changing it not.
Send a sweet breeze from Thy sea, O Lord,
From Thy deep, deep sea of love ;
Though it lift not the veil from the cloudy
Let the brow grow cool and the footsteps light,
As it comes with holy and soothing might,
Like the wing of a snowy dove.
ROBERT STEPHEN HAWKER
THE CHILD JESUS
A Cornish Carol
WELCOME that star in Judah's sky.
That voice o'er Bethlehem's palmy
The lamp far sages hailed on high,
The tones that thrilled the shepherd men
Glory to God in loftiest heaven !
Thus angels smote the echoing chord ;
Glad tidings unto man forgiven,
Peace from the presence of the Lord !
The shepherds sought that birth divine,
The Wise Men traced their guided way ;
There, by strange light and mystic sign,
The God they came to worship lay.
A human Babe in beauty smiled,
Where lowing oxen round him trod :
A maiden clasped her Awful Child,
Pure offspring of the breath of God.
Those voices from on high are mute,
The star the Wise Men saw is dim ;
But hope still guides the wanderer's foot,
And faith renews the angel hymn :
Glory to God in loftiest heaven !
Touch with glad hand the ancient chord ;
Good tidings unto man forgiven,
Peace from the presence of the Lord.
LET others strive for wealth or praise
Who care to win ;
I count myself full blest, if He,
Who made my study fair to see,
Grant me but length of quiet days
To muse therein.
Its walls, with peach and cherry clad,
From yonder wold
Unbosomed, seem as if thereon
September sunbeams ever shone ;
They make the air look warm and glad
When winds are cold.
Around its door a clematis
Her arms doth tie ;
Through leafy lattices I view
Its endless corridors of blue
Curtained with clouds ; its ceiling is
The marbled sky.
A verdant carpet smoothly laid
Doth oft invite
My silent steps ; thereon the sun
With silver thread of dew hath spun
Devices rare — the warp of shade,
The weft of light.
132 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Here dwell my chosen books, whose leaves
With healing breath
The ache of discontent assuage,
And speak from each illumined page
The patience that my soul reprieves
From inward death ;
Some perish with a season's wind,
And some endure ;
One robes itself in snow, and one
In raiment of the rising sun
Bordered with gold ; — in all I find
As on my grassy couch I lie,
From hedge and tree
Musicians pipe ; or if the heat
Subdue the birds, one crooneth sweet
Whose labour is a lullaby, —
The slumbrous bee.
The sun my work doth overlook
With searching light ;
The serious moon, the flickering star,
My midnight lamp and candle are ;
A soul unhardened is the book
Wherein I write.
There labouring, my heart is eased
Of every care ;
NINETEENTH CENTURY 133
Yet often wonderstruck I stand,
With earnest gaze but idle hand,
Abashed — for God Himself is pleased
To labour there.
Ashamed my faultful task to spell,
I watch how grows
The Master's perfect colour-scheme
Of sunset, or His simpler dream
Of moonlight, or that miracle
We name a rose.
There, in the lap of pure content,
I still would keep
The Sabbath of a soul at rest ;
Nor could I wish a close more blest
Than there, when life's bright day is spent,
To fall asleep.
OS THE MOUNTAIN
I SCALE the fortress where the winds keep
O'er health's unrifled hoard ;
Each footstep is an ecstasy ; my blood
Leaps with the sparkling flood
Of sunshine from God's crystal chalice poured.
Ascending I behold
Earth's ancient scroll unfold ;
The mountain's naked shoulder screens from
134 SACRED POEMS OF THE
The valley of last night's expectant rest,
Whose hamlet, as the prospect grew.
Shrank to a wood-wren's nest.
Panting ruth joyful toil at last I stand
Where taintless breezes range,
An infant holding Nature by the hand,
A new-born creature, to myself most strange ;
Exalted to this sovereign height
I taste awhile an eagles lone delight ;
Then, as I scan
The Makers outspread plan,
My humbled spirit kneels
And uncomplaining feels
The insignificance of Man.
Around me slumber giant limbs ; below
The vapours crawl that curtain me from care ;
A stream unseen is heard to flow ;
The breast of peace lies bare ;
I gaze along the avenues of air
To that which seems a sea beyond the sea,
The dim horizon of eternity.
WO thousand troubled years
Time's weary brow have worn.
Since that strange star to shepherds told
The Prince of Peace was born ;
NINETEENTH CENTURY 135
Two thousand years of gloom,
Of groping toward the light,
Of prophets scorned and martyrs slain
And battle done for right.
But year by year the bells
The old glad tidings bring,
And men forget their strife, to keep
The birthday of the King.
Christ's kingdom yet will come
And good prevail o'er ill,
Though often with a crown of thorns
We mock the Master still ;
Yet He will not forsake
The world for which He died,
Till all mankind be gathered home
At the great Christmastide.
THE SILENT HARP
POOR harp how desolate ! — The loving
That wind-like wandered o'er thy trem-
Culling sweet sheaves of sound or whisper-
Aeolian, at the Master's mute command
136 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Drops lifeless. In that unresponsive land
What music He from earthly sufferings
Evoketh and the stress of mortal things,
Wistful we seek but may not understand.
Yonder may dwell continual peace, but here
All peace begetteth and is born of strife,
And every smile is sister to a tear ;
Death only can the missing note supply
That shall resolve the discord of this life ;
Silence alone is perfect harmony.
THE LAST CRUSADE
Extract from " The Burial of Saint Louis"
" rnr^HANKS be to God !
And praised be the Father of all life !
Who hideth not the radiance of His
E'en from His meanest creature, but doth shed
His bounteous warmth alike on weed and
His bounteous love alike on wretch and king.
Thine is the first grey glimmer that foretells
The fresh dominion of ascending Day,
Ere yet the birds have thrust with dewy wing
The beaded twigs aside, and shyly chirped
The half-remembered music of their dreams;
Thine the first frail anemone that lifts
A starry head above the mouldering leaves,
To tell the naked underwood of Spring ;
NINETEENTH CENTURY 137
Thine the first sunbeam on the latest snow ;
Thine the first laughter of the new-born babe ;
And Thine, dear God, the earliest ray of hope
That gilds the night and winter of despair.
Blest be the silent-growing power of Day,
Blest be the slowly-widening dawn of Truth,
Blest be the ever-conquering might of Good,
And blest the surely-coming reign of Love."
EXTRACT FROM " THE STORMING
ONWARD through the shade
For half a league they marched, and
not a sound
Vexed earth's deep slumber, save the measured
Of their own steps, or rustle of the leaves
When some bright bird broke from his dewy
And down the valley with a startled cry
Flew to a deeper shelter. But the walls
Of riven limestone glimmering to the stars
Grew ever wider parted, till they made
A sloping circle, like the storm-worn wreck
Of some great amphitheatre ; and midway
Adown the slope, and nestling to the plain,
Asleep beneath the breathing moonlight, lay
The village-home of Christ.
438 SACRED POEMS
O ye, who deem
The din of cities better than the hush
Of the bare hills, the pomp of painted roofs
More glorious than the starry vault of Heaven,
The strife of factions sweeter than the song
Of woodland birds, the raiment of a king
More lovely than the lily, and the roar
Of nations greater than the still small voice ;
Ponder it well, or e'er your ears grow deaf
To God's deep music, that earth's strongest
Who best hath known to cope with pain, and
And shame, and sin, Who best hath held His
Unflinching through the tempest of the world,
Most nobly wrestled with the powers of Hell,
And looked most calmly in the face of Death,
Drew His vast might, not from the turbid flow
Of crowded streets, but those pure influences
Which spring from star and bird and wayside
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
THE CHAMBERED NAUTILUS
THIS is the ship of pearl, which, poets
Sails the unshadowed main, —
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their
Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl ;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl !
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed, —
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!
Year after year behold the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil ;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past years dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last found home, and knew
the old no more.
140 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Thanks for the heavenly message brought
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn !
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn !
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep cave of thought I hear a
voice that sings : —
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll !
Leave thy low- vaulted past !
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting
OUR Father ! while our hearts unlearn
The creeds that wrong Thy name,
Still let our hallowed altars burn
With Faith's undying flame !
Not by the lightning-gleams of wrath
Our souls Thy face shall see,
The star of Love must light the path
That leads to Heaven and Thee.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 141
Help us to read our Master's will
Through every darkening stain
That clouds His sacred image still,
And see Him once again.
The brother man, the pitying friend,
Who weeps for human woes,
Whose pleading words of pardon blend
With cries of raging foes.
If 'mid the gathering storms of doubt,
Our hearts grow faint and cold,
The strength we cannot live without
Thy love will not withhold.
Our prayers accept ; our sins forgive ;
Our youthful zeal renew ;
Shapes for us holier lives to live,
And nobler work to do !
ABOU BEiV AD HEM
ABOU BEN ADHEM (may his tribe in-
Awoke one night from a deep dream
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
.Making it rich, and like the lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold ;
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem
And to the presence in the room he said,
** What writest thou ? " — The vision raised its
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love
u And is mine one ? " said Abou ; " Nay, not
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still ; and said, " I pray thee then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men. w
The angel wrote and vanished. The next
It came again with a great wakening light.
And showed the names whom love of God
And lo ! Ben AdhenVs name led all the rest.
REV. JOHN A. JENNINGS
ANDERING thro' the city
My heart was sick and sore :
Full of a feverish longing
I entered an old church door.
Dark were the aisles and gloomy :
Type of my troubled breast.
Mournful and sad I paced there,
Eager to be at rest.
Sudden the sunshine lighted
The arches with golden stream,
Chasing the darksome shadows
With brightly-glancing beam.
A chord pealed forth from the organ
Tender, and soft, and sweet :
Trembling along the pavement
Like the tread of the angels' feet.
The light as a voice from Heaven,
Bid all my care to cease ;
The chord, as a song of Seraphs,
Whispered of Gods own peace.
E. PAULINE JOHNSON
I MAY not go to-night to Bethlehem,
Nor follow star-directed ways, nor tread
The paths wherein the shepherds walked,
To Christ, and peace, and Gods good will to
I may not hear the Herald Angels' song
Peal through the oriental skies, nor see
The wonder of that Heavenly company
Announce the King the world had waited long.
The manger throne I may not kneel before,
Or see how man to God is reconciled,
Through pure St Mary's purer, holier child :
The human Christ these eyes may not adore.
I may not carry frankincense and myrrh
With adoration to the Holy One ;
Nor gold have I to give the Perfect Son,
To be with those wise kings a worshipper.
Not mine the joy that Heaven sent to them,
For ages since Time swung and locked his
But 1 may kneel without — the star still waits.
To guide me on to holy Bethlehem.
SACRED POEMS 145
BECAUSE, dear Christ, your tender,
Bends back the brier that edges
life's long way,
That no hurt conies to heart, to soul no harm,
I do not feel the thorns so much to-day.
Because I never knew your care to tire,
Your hand to weary guiding me aright,
Because you walk before and crush the brier,
It does not pierce my feet so much to-night.
Because so often you have hearkened to
My selfish prayers, I ask but one thing now,
That these harsh hands of mine add not unto
The crown of thorns upon your bleeding
SOULLESS is all humanity to me
To-night. My keenest longing is to be
Alone, alone with God's grey earth that
Pulse of my pulse and consort of my dreams.
146 SACRED POEMS
To-night my soul desires no fellowship,
Or fellow-being ; crave I but to slip
Thro' space on space, till flesh no more can
And I may quit for aye my fellow kind.
Let me but feel athwart my cheek the lash
Of whipping wind, but hear the torrent dash
Adown the mountain steep, 'twere more my
Than touch of human hand, than human
Let me but wander on the shore night-stilled,
Drinking its darkness till my soul is filled ;
The breathing of the salt sea on my hair,
My outstretched hands but grasping empty
Let me but feel the pulse of Nature's soul
Athrob on mine, let seas and thunders roll
Oer night and me ; sands whirl ; winds, waters
For God's grey earth has no cheap counterfeit.
REV. JOHN KEBLE
THE TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY
"The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a strang-er
doth not intermeddle with his joy." — Prov. xiv. 10.
WHY should we faint and fear to live
Since all alone, so Heaven has
willed, we die,
Nor even the tenderest heart, and next our own T
Knows half the reasons why we smile and
Each in his hidden sphere of joy or woe
Our hermit spirits dwell, and range apart,
Our eyes see all around in gloom or glow —
Hues of their own, fresh borrowed from the
And well it is for us our God should feel
Alone our secret throbbings : so our prayer
May readier spring to Heaven, nor spend its-
On cloud-born idols of this lower air.
For if one heart in perfect sympathy
Beat with another, answering love for love.
Weak mortals, all entranced, on earth would lie,
Nor listen for those purer strains above.
148 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Or what if Heaven for once its searching light
Lent to some partial eye, disclosing all
The rude bad thoughts that in our bosom's
Wander at large, nor heed Love's gentle
Who would not shun the dreary uncouth
As if, fond leaning where her infant slept,
A mother's arm a serpent should embrace :
So might we friendless live, and die unwept.
Then keep the softening veil in mercy drawn,
Thou who canst love us, though Thou read
us true ;
As on the bosom of the aerial lawn
Melts in dim haze each coarse ungentle hue.
Thou know' st our bitterness — our joys are
No stranger Thou to all our wanderings
Nor could we bear to think how every line
Of us, Thy darkened likeness and defiled,
Stands in full sunshine of Thy piercing eye,
But that Thou call'st us Brethren : sweet
NINETEENTH CENTURY 149
Is in that word ! the Lord who dwells on high
Knows all, yet loves us better than He
THE FOURTH SUSDAY IN LENT
"Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his
brother : and he sought where to weep ; and he entered into
his chamber, and wept there." — Gen. xliii. 30.
11 There stood no man with him, while Joseph made
himself known unto his brethren." — Gen. xlv. 1.
HEN Nature tries her finest touch,
Weaving her vernal wreath,
Mark ye, how close she veils her
Not to be traced by sight or sound
Nor soiled by ruder breath !
Who ever saw the earliest rose
First open her sweet breast ?
Or, when the summer sun goes down,
The first soft star in evening's crown
Light up her gleaming crest?
Fondly we seek the dawning bloom
On features wan and fair, —
The gazing eye no change can trace
But look away a little space,
Then turn, and, lo ! 'tis there.
150 SACRED POEMS OF THE
But there's a sweeter flower than e'er
Blushed on the rosy spray —
A brighter star, a richer bloom
Than e'er did western heaven illume
At close of summer day.
Tis Love, the last best gift of Heaven ;
Love gentle, holy, pure :
But tenderer than a dove's soft eye,
The searching sun, the open sky,
She never could endure.
Even human Love will shrink from sight
Here in the coarse rude earth :
How then should rash intruding glance
Break in upon her sacred trance
Who boasts a heavenly birth ?
So still and secret is her growth.
Ever the truest heart.
Where deepest strikes her kindly root
For hope or joy, for flower or fruit,
Least knows its happy part.
God only, and good Angels, look
Behind the blissful screen —
As when, triumphant o'er His woes.
The Son of God by moonlight rose,
Bv all but Heaven unseen :
NINETEENTH CENTURY 151
As when the holy Maid beheld
Her risen Son and Lord :
Thought has not colours half so fair
That she to paint that hour may dare,
In silence best adored.
The gracious Dove, that brought from Heaven
The earnest of our bliss,
Of many a chosen witness telling
On many a happy vision dwelling,
Sings not a note of this.
So, truest image of the Christ,
Old Israel's long-lost son,
What time, with sweet forgiving cheer.
He called his conscious brethren near,
Would weep with them alone.
He could not trust his melting soul
But in his Maker's sight —
Then why should gentle hearts and true
Bare to the rude world's withering view
Their treasure of delight !
No — let the dainty rose awhile
Her bashful fragrance hide —
Rend not her silken veil too soon,
But leave her, in her own soft noon.
To flourish and abide.
H. W. LONGFELLOW
THE DAY IS DOSE
HE day is done and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me,
That my soul cannot resist :
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.
Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay.
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.
For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
SACRED POEMS 153
Life's endless toil and endeavour ;
And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer
Or tears from the eyelids start ;
Who, through long days of labour,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice ;
And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
154 SACRED POEMS OF THE
THE LEGES D BEAUTIFUL
"Had'st thou stayed, I must have fled!"
That is what the Vision said.
IN his chamber all alone,
Kneeling on the floor of stone,
Prayed the monk in deep contrition
For his sins of indecision,
Prayed for greater self-denial
In temptation and in trial ;
It was noonday by the dial.
And the Monk was all alone.
Suddenly, as if it lightened,
An unwonted splendour brightened
All within him and without him
In that narrow cell of stone ;
And he saw the Blessed Vision
Of our Lord, with light Elysian
Like a vesture wrapped about him,
Like a garment round him thrown.
Not as crucified and slain,
Not in agonies of pain,
Not with bleeding hands and feet
Did the Monk his Master see ;
But as in the village street,
In the house or harvest-field,
Halt and lame and blind he healed,
When He walked in Galilee.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 155
In an attitude imploring,
Hands upon his bosom crossed,
Wondering, worshipping, adoring,
Knelt the Monk in rapture lost.
Lord, he thought, in heaven that reignest
Who am I, that thus Thou deignest
To reveal Thyself to me ?
Who am I, that from the centre
Of Thy glory Thou shouldst enter
This poor cell, my guest to be ?
Then amid his exaltation,
Loud the convent bell appalling,
From its belfry calling, calling,
Rang through court and corridor
With persistent iteration
He had never heard before.
It was now the appointed hour
When alike in shine or shower,
Winters cold or summer's heat,
To the convent portals came
All the blind and halt and lame,
All the beggars of the street,
For their daily dole of food
Dealt them by the brotherhood ■
And their almoner was he
Who upon his bended knee,
Rapt in silent ecstasy
Of divinest self-surrender,
Saw the Vision and the Splendour.
156 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Deep distress and hesitation
Mingled with his adoration ;
Should he go, or should he stay ?
Should he leave the poor to wail
Hungry at the convent gate,
Till the Vision passed away ?
Should he slight his radiant guest,
Slight his visitant celestial,
For a crowd of ragged, bestial
Beggars at the convent gate?
Would the Vision there remain ?
Would the Vision come again ?
Then a voice within his breast
Whispered, audible and clear,
As if to the outward ear :
" Do thy duty ; that is best ;
Leave unto thy Lord the rest ! ,1
Straightway to his feet he started,
And with longing look intent
On the Blessed Vision bent,
Slowly from his cell departed,
Slowly on his errand went.
At the gate the poor were waiting.
Looking through the iron grating,
With that terror in the eye
That is only seen in those
Who amid their wants and woes
NINETEENTH CENTURY 157
Hear the sound of doors that close,
And of feet that pass them by ;
Grown familiar with disfavour,
Grown familiar with the savour
Of the bread by which men die !
But to-day, they knew not why,
Like the gate of Paradise
Seemed the convent gate to rise,
Like a sacrament divine
Seemed to them the bread and wine.
In his heart the Monk was praying
Thinking of the homeless poor,
What they suffer and endure ;
What we see not, what we see ;
And the inward voice was saying ;
"Whatsoever thing thou doest
To the least of mine and lowest,
That thou doest unto Me ! "
Unto Me ! but had the Vision
Come to him in beggar's clothing,
Come a mendicant imploring,
Would he then have knelt adoring,
Or have listened with derision,
And have turned away with loathing?
Thus his conscience put the question,
Full of troublesome suggestion,
As at length, with hurried pace,
Towards his cell he turned his face,
158 SACRED POEMS OF THE
And beheld the convent bright
With a supernatural light,
Like a luminous cloud expanding
Over floor and wall and ceiling.
But he paused with awe-struck feeling
At the threshold of his door,
For the Vision still was standing
As he left it there before,
When the convent bell appalling,
From its belfry calling, calling,
Summoned him to feed the poor.
Through the long hour intervening
It had waited his return,
And he felt his bosom burn,
Comprehending all the meaning,
When the Blessed Vision said,
" Had'st thou stayed, I must have fled ! M
THE TWO ANGELS
TWO angels, one of Life and one of
Passed o'er our village as the morn-
ing broke ;
The dawn was on their faces, and beneath.
The sombre houses hearsed with plumes of
NINETEENTH CENTURY 159
Their attitude and aspect were the same,
Alike their features and their robes of white ;
But one was crowned with amaranth, as with
And one with asphodels, like flakes of light.
I saw them pause on their celestial way ;
Then I, with deep fear and doubt
" Beat not so loud, my heart, lest thou betray
The place where thy beloved are at rest ! v
And he who wore the crown of asphodels,
Descending, at my door began to knock,
And my soul sank within me, as in wells
The waters sink before an earthquake's
I recognised the nameless agony,
The terror and the tremor and the pain,
That oft before had filled or haunted me
And now returned with threefold strength
The door I opened to my heavenly guest,
And listened, for I thought I heard God's
And, knowing whatsoe'er He sent was best,
Dared neither to lament nor to rejoice.
160 SACRED POEMS
Then with a smile, that filled the house with
"My errand is not Death, but Life/' he
And ere I answered, passing out of sight,
On his celestial embassy he sped.
? Twas at thy door, O friend ! and not at mine.
The angel with the amaranthine wreath.
Pausing, descended, and with voice divine.
Whispered a word that had a sound like
Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom,
A shadow on those features fair and thin ;
And softly from that hushed and darkened
Two angels issued, where but one went in.
All is of God ! If He but wave His hand,
The mists collect, the rain falls thick and
Till, with a smile of light on sea and land,
Lo ! He looks back from the departing cloud.
Angels of Life and Death alike are His ;
Without His leave they pass no threshold
Who then would wish or dare, believing this.
Against His messengers to shut the door?
G. R. LOWELL
I CANNOT think that thou shouldst pass
Whose life to mine is an eternal law,
A piece of nature that can have no flaw,
A new and certain sunrise every day ;
But, if thou art to be another ray
About the Sun of Life, and art to live
Free from all of thee that was fugitive,
The debt of Love I will more fully pay,
Not downcast with the thought of thee so high,
But, rather, raised to be a nobler man,
And more divine in my humanity,
As knowing that the waiting eyes which scan
My life, are lighted by a purer being,
And ask meek, calm-browed deeds, with it
HENRY FRANCIS LYTE
ABIDE WITH ME
ABIDE with me ! fast falls the even-tide;
The darkness deepens ; Lord, with me
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me !
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day ;
Earth's joys grow dim ; its glories pass away:
Change and decay in all around I see ;
O Thou, who changest not, abide with me !
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word ;
But, as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free,
Come, not to sojourn, but abide, with me !
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings ;
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea ;
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus 'bide with
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse mean-
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee :
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 163
I need Thy Presence every passing hour :
What but Thy grace can foil the tempters
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless :
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness r
Where is Death's sting ? where, Grave, thy
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me !
Hold then Thy cross before my closing eyesL
Shine through the gloom, and point me to
the skies !
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain
shadows flee ;
In life and death, O Lord, abide with me !
HE IS M1SE
LONG did I toil, and knew no earthly
Far did I rove, and found no certain
At last I sought them in His sheltering breast,
Who opes His arms, and bids the weary
164 SACRED POEMS OF THE
With Him I found a home, a rest Divine ;
And I since then am His, and He is mine.
Yes ! He is mine ! and nought of earthly things,
Not all the charms of pleasure, wealth, or
The fame of heroes, or the pomp of kings,
Could tempt me to forego His love an hour.
Go, worthless world, I cry, with all that's thine!
Go ! I my Saviour's am, and He is mine.
The good I have is from His stores supplied ;
The ill is only what He deems the best ;
He for my Friend, I'm rich with nought
And poor without Him, though of all possest:
Changes may come ; I take, or 1 resign ;
Content, while I am His, while He is mine.
Whate'er may change, in Him no change is
A glorious Sun, that wanes not nor declines;
Above the clouds and storms He walks serene,
And sweetly on His people's darkness shines:
All may depart ; I fret not, nor repine,
While I my Saviour's am, while He is mine.
He stays me falling, lifts me up when down,
Reclaims me wandering, guards from every
NINETEENTH CENTURY 165
Plants on my worthless brow the victor's
Which, in return, before His feet I throw,
Grieved that I cannot better grace His shrine,
Who deigns to own me His, and He is mine.
While here, alas ! I know but half His love,
But half discern Him, and but half adore ;
But when I meet Him in the realms above,
I hope to love Him better, praise Him more,
And feel, and tell, amid the choir Divine,
How fully I am His, and He is mine.
A DREAM OF THE CROSS
LAY and dreamed. Three crosses stood
Amid the gloomy air.
Two bore two men — one was the Good ;
The third rose waiting, bare.
A Roman soldier, coming by,
Mistook me for the third ;
I lifted up my asking eye
For Jesus' sign or word.
I thought He signed that I should yield,
And give the error way.
I held my peace ; no word revealed,
No gesture uttered nay.
Against the cross a scaffold stood,
Whence easy hands could nail
The doomed upon that altar-wood,
Whose fire burns slow and pale.
Upon its floor he lifted me ;
I stood all thoughtful there,
Waiting until the deadly tree
My form for fruit should bear.
Rose up the waves of fear and doubt,
Rose up from heart to brain ;
SACRED POEMS 167
They shut the world of vision out,
And thus they cried amain :
" Ah me ! my hands — the hammer's knock —
The nails — the tearing strength ! "
My soul replied : " Tis but a shock
That grows to pain at length."
44 Ah me ! the awful fight with death ;
The hours to hang and die ;
The thirsting gasp for common breath
That passes heedless by!"
My soul replied : " A faintness soon
Will shroud thee in its fold ;
The hours will go, — the fearful noon
Rise, pass — and thou art cold.
44 And for thy suffering, what to thee
Is that ? or care of thine ?
Thou living branch upon the tree
Whose root is the Divine !
44 'Tis His to care that thou endure ;
That pain shall grow or fade ;
With bleeding hands hang on thy cure i
He knows what he hath made."
And still for all the inward wail,
My foot was firmly pressed ;
168 SACRED POEMS OF THE
For still the fear lest I should fail
Was stronger than the rest.
And thus I stood, until the strife
The bonds of slumber brake.
I felt as I had ruined life,
Had fled, and come awake
Yet I was glad, my heart confessed,
The trial went not on ;
Glad, likewise, I had stood the test
As far as it had gone.
And yet I fear some recreant thought,
Which now I all forget,
This painful feeling in me wrought
Of failure, lingering yet.
And if the dream had had its scope,
I might have fled the field ;
But yet 1 thank Thee for the hope,
And think I dared not yield.
AND weep not, though the Beautiful
Within thy heart, as daily in thine
Thy heart must have its Autumn, its pale
NINETEENTH CENTURY 169
Leading, mayhap, to Winter's cold dismay.
Yet doubt not. Beauty doth not pass away ;
Her form departs not, though her body dies.
Secure beneath the earth the snowdrop lies,
Waiting Spring's young resurrection day,
Through the kind nurture of the Winter cold.
Nor seek thou by vain effort to revive
The Summer time, when roses were alive :
Do thou thy work — be willing to be old ;
Thy sorrow is the husk that doth enfold
A gorgeous June for which thou need'st not
AND should the twilight deepen into
And sorrow grow to anguish, be thou
Thou art in God and nothing can go wrong
That a fresh life-pulse cannot set aright ;
That thou dost know the darkness, proves
Weep if thou wilt, but weep not thou too long ;
Or weep and work, for work will lead to song.
But search thy heart, if hid from all thy sight
There lie no cause for Beauty's slow decay ;
If for completeness and diviner youth,
And not for very love, thou lov'st the truth ;
170 SACRED POEMS
If thou hast learned to give thyself away
For love's own self, not for thyself, I say :
Were God's love less, the world were lost,
AND do not fear to hope. Can poet's
More than the Father's heart rich
good invent ?
Each time we smell the autumn's dying
We know the primrose time will come again ;
Not more we hope, nor less would soothe our
Be bounteous in thy faith, for not mis-spent
Is confidence unto the Father lent :
Thy need is sown and rooted for His rain.
His thoughts are as thine own ; nor are His
Other than thine, but by their loftier sense
Of beauty infinite, and love intense.
Work on. One day, beyond all thoughts of
A sunny joy will crown thy head with rays ;
Nor other than thy need thy recompense.
REV. GEORGE MATHESON, D.D.
O LOVE, THAT WILT NOT LET
OLOVE, that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee :
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O Light, that followest all my way,
I yield my flick'ring torch to Thee ;
My heart restores its borrow 1 d ray,
That in thy sunshines blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
Joy, that seekest me thro' pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee ;
1 trace the rainbow thro' the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
Cross, that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from Thee ;
1 lay in dust, life's glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
11 And her husband went with her along weeping behind
her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, Go, return.
And he returned." x
WE dwelt together, by the grace of
Through golden years of sunshine.
Day by day
In raiment white as snow she walked with me,
And daily grew more dear. Oh, sweet to us,
Beyond all word or dream, that mutual life
Which God had given us richly to enjoy,
Its happy labours, — blessed rests between, —
Summer and Winter, Spring-time and the joy
Of Harvest Home.
Yet even then, I know
That far above, beyond my duller sight,
Her hope was centred ; every lovely gift
That graced our home on earth, was unto her
A shadow and example of the things
Prepared in Heaven. Brighter glowed her
More spiritual and still more fair her hope,
As each fresh blessing from our Father's hand
Fell softly, crowning us. If thus, she said,
Beyond all thought or promise, this brief life
1 This verse is used only as a motto, and the poem bears
no reference to the history of Michal.
SACRED POEMS 173
Grew dear and wonderful, what must it be
To dwell within the City, fair and still
Which shall be ours for ever?
Grief or care
Had scarcely touched her — in our sheltered
She knew no sorrow ; Peace and Charity
Dwelt sweetly where she dwelt, and Joy
A frequent guest, and loved to sit with her
And make her sing. Yet pitiful she was
To all who suffered, measuring loss and woe
By the large measure of her own deep heart,
And by the vastness of its treasure. Thus
Even through joy she knew the secret pang
Of sorrow ; and through riches, poverty,
And loss by gain.
And day by day she sought
The stricken homes beside whose desolate
And silent hearths sat Want, or Pain, or
Those terrible guests who ask for no man's
But lift the latch, and enter, and sit down ; —
There came she, as an angel, with the cup
Of consolation in her tender hand,
And ministered, with tears of sympathy,
To every mourning spirit.
Of service and of hope swept over us
174 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Thus sweetly. Brighter grew our home, more
Our daily life together ; God Himself
Shone on us, making all we took in hand
To grow and prosper. And as time went by
He daily joined our hearts more perfectly,
And made us one.
Until there came a day, —
A day to me of heaviness and woe
Beyond repair, — when He who thus had
And bound us to each other, soul to soul,
Divided us. He claimed His awful right
To put asunder those whom He had joined.
His sword is powerful, quick and keen to
Dividing even soul and spirit, joints
And marrow, living heart and heart entwined
In holy wedlock. Who can bid it stay.
Or say, " Put up thyself, O Sword of God,
Return into thy scabbard, rest, be still,
Here is no place for thee " ? How can it rest
When God hath given it a charge ?
Upon a glorious day in harvest-time, —
When, under smiling skies, the golden grain
Was carried home with singing, — that a word
Was brought unto my love ; the King Himself
Desired her presence — He would have her
NINETEENTH CENTURY 175
Her home, and all she had, and go to Him.
Ah ! oftentimes, in peaceful evening hours,
When we together sat, to see the sun
Sink smiling toward the sea, my love had
" How sweet if, by the pitying grace of God,
The sun at length upon us both might set,
And we together pass into the Dawn
Of His Celestial Day ! Oh, hand in hand,
To leave the sweetness of our earthly home
For one prepared above ; together still
To enter by the Gate, to see the King,
And with one heart to taste the cup of
Which He has mingled."
This her tender dream
Was crossed by Heaven, for she was called
She heard the message, kissed the token sent,
And rose up, pale but smiling, to depart
With those who came to seek her. Yet to
She stretched her hands, and bade me lead
A little way upon this journey strange
And solemn. " Come with me," she said, " O
As far, along that shadowy road, — as far
As any step of mortal man may go
And yet return."
176 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Then slowly forth we went,
Hand locked in hand. We left behind the
Of common sounds, we passed into the waste
And solitary space that girdles round
Our daily life ; a shadowy path we found.
And followed but a little way, when, lo !
Before us suddenly upon the hills,
More glorious than the sun, the City shone
With open gates of welcome, and I saw
The answering brightness on my dear ones
Whilst darkness covered mine.
Sent by the King had lingered, — pitying
My speechless grief, — behind us by the way ;
But now they came to us, and tenderly
Withdrew her little clinging hand from mine,
And gently hastened her, the King's command
Then my love before me went,
With glad, swift steps ascending, and bright
Set steadfastly toward Jerusalem ;
Yet in her joy she still remembered me,
And paused and turned, and sought by
And looks to cheer me, as I, broken, went
Behind her weeping. Till the Messengers
Drew near again, and touched me, saying low,
NINETEENTH CENTURY 177
In heavenly voices, soft with pity, — " Go,
Return. Thou mayst not follow, yet uncalled,
These happy footsteps to the City gates
And to the presence of the King. Behold !
Already she is passing from thy gaze —
A bright cloud overshadows her — she goes
Into the Glory which no man shall see
And live ; and we attend her. Go, return,"
And I returned. To this bare home of mine
Where all is changed and dim, and every
Has withered in its place, and every sound
Is charged with sorrow, I returned alone
And desolate for ever. Nights and days
Swept over me ; I saw no sun nor stars,
But sat in equal darkness at noon-day,
And midnight, for my light was gone from
And strange it seemed to think that far
In the Celestial City, where they know
No night nor shadow, she in Glory dwelt
Whilst darkness covered me.
Yet light was sown
Even for me, around my ruined home,
And in a litttle while began to spring :
The seed my love had scattered far and free
Beside all waters, now returned to me
In blessings manifold ; the poor and sad
178 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Whom she had visited and cheered and fed
Prayed day and night for me ; until the Love
That once had seemed so distant — seated far
Above the heavens — came down and dwelt
Familiar, patient, in this lonely place.
And I grow patient, too, and am content
With bare, still days of Winter, softly lit
By memories of golden Summer flown,
And hope of perfect Summer yet to come
Which shall restore my treasure. Day by
I seek to follow her, and everywhere, —
In homes of sorrow, in the place of prayer,
Or in the wide, white Harvest-field, — I find
And kiss her blessed footprints.
Ah ! far behind her, — weeping still at times,
Yet comforted, — I press toward the Hills
Where, crowned with joy, my love is waiting
On the bright threshold of eternal Peace
Mine eyes shall see her standing pure as
And radiant as the dawn, to welcome me.
Oh, but to picture that first look, the smile
With which she will receive me, makes my
Grow faint with joy and wonder.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 179
As a child
At Home, familiar in the Father's House,
She, smiling still, will lead me to His feet,
And I, too, shall behold Him face to Face
Whom, not having seen, I lore. There shall
As with one heart, that cup of infinite joy
Which He hath mingled ; for the King shall
Upon us gloriously, and make us one.
And in the days that follow — golden days,
Celestial still and clear — she shall be mine, —
Oh, once again mine own, for ever mine, —
Spirit to spirit bound in deathless love
Beneath the shadow of the Throne of God.
PHILIP BOURKE MARSTON
I SAID " To-morrow ! " one bleak, wintry
" To-morrow I will live my life anew," —
And still " To-morrow ! " while the winter
To spring, and yet I dallied by the way,
And sweet dear Sins still held me in their
" To-morrow ! " I said, while summer days
wore through ;
" To-morrow ! M while chill autumn round
me drew ;
And so my soul remained the sweet Sins' prey.
So pass the years, and still, perpetually,
I cry, " To-morrow will I flee each wile —
To-morrow, surely, shall my soul stand free,
Safe from the syren voices that beguile ! "
But death waits by me with a mocking smile,
And whispers — " Yea ! To-morrow, verily ! '
SACRED POEMS 181
AFTER LOVE'S PASSING
THE awful stillness in two human souls
Whence Love has passed away,
The dreary night no moon of joy con-
The undelightful day —
The cruel coldness where was once Love's
The darkness where was light,
The burning, tearless eyes, the weary feet
That journey day and night —
The long, dark way that has no end but one —
That goal no man may miss —
The winds that wail about the sunken sun
For life's departed bliss —
The fearful loneliness that comes between
Those souls erst one, now twain —
The passionate memory of what has been ;
The unavailing pain —
The springs that come, but bring no hope of
The cheerless, summer hours ;
With songs of birds grown old, and harsh,
And scentless, bloomless flowers —
182 SACRED POEMS
The fruitless autumn, with no garnered corn,
The dreary, winter weather —
The two who walk apart, alone, forlorn,
Who once kept step together —
The bitter sense of failure and regret,
The life without an aim,
The unavailing struggle to forget
The weakness, owned with shame —
These things make sad the night and sad the
And hard are they to bear —
Yet let those souls whence Love has passed
Though sad, keep pure and fair :
Ah ! let them say, " Great Love once tarried
Making his home divine —
Though he has passed, yet let us still hold
The temple and the shrine."
LOUISE CHANDLER MOULTON
OW we, poor players on Life's little
Thrust blindly at each other in our
Quarrel and fret yet rashly dare to pray
To God to help us in our selfish way !
We think to move Him with our prayer and
To serve our needs — as in the old Greek days
Their gods came down and mingled in the
With mightier arms the flying foe to smite.
The laughter of those gods pealed down to
For heaven was but earth's upper story, then,
Where goddesses about an apple strove,
And the high gods fell humanly in love.
We own a God whose presence fills the sky —
Whose sleepless eyes behold the worlds roll
Whose faithful memory numbers one by one
The sons of men, and calls them each His
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
LEAD, KINDLY LIGHT
LEAD, kindly light, amid the encircling
Lead Thou me on :
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on :
Keep Thou my feet ; I do not ask to see
The distant scene ; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on :
I loved to choose and see my path ; but now,
Lead Thou me on :
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will ; remember not past
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
ON sail on the horizon's verge
Doth like a wandering spirit seem,-
A shadow in a sea of light —
The passing of a dream.
A moment more and it is gone !
We know not how — we know not where :
It came — an instant stayed — and then
It vanished into air.
Such are we all : — we sail awhile
In joy, on life's fair summer sea :
A moment — and our bark is gone
BAPTIST WRIOTHESLEY NOEL
THERE'S NOT A BIRD
THERE'S not a bird, with lonely nest
In pathless wood or mountain crest,
Nor meaner thing, which does not share,
O God ! in Thy paternal care !
There's not a being now accurst,
Who did not taste Thy goodness first ;
And every joy the wicked see
Received its origin from thee.
Each barren crag, each desert rude,
Holds Thee within its solitude ;
And thou dost bless the wanderer there,
Who makes his solitary prayer.
In busy mart and crowded street,
No less than in the still retreat,
Thou, Lord, art near, our souls to bless
With all a parents tenderness !
And every moment still doth bring
Thy blessings on its loaded wing ;
Widely they spread through earth and sky,
And last to all eternity !
SACRED POEMS 187
Through all creation let Thy Name
Be echoed with a glad acclaim !
That let the grateful Churches sing ;
With that let heaven for ever ring !
And we, where'er our lot is cast,
While life and thought and feeling last,
Through all our years, in every place,
Will bless Thee for Thy boundless grace !
HERE do the stars grow, little
The garden of moons, is it far
The orchard of suns, my little Garaine,
Will you take us there some day ? "
" If you shut your eyes," quoth little Garaine,
" I will show you the way to go
To the orchard of suns and the garden of
And the field where the stars do grow.
" But you must speak soft," quoth little
"And still must your footsteps be,
For a great bear prowls in the field of the stars,
And the moons they have men to see.
"And the suns have the Children of Signs
And they have no pity at all —
You must not stumble, you must not speak,
When you come to the orchard wall.
" The gates are locked," quoth little Garaine,
" But the way I am going to tell !
The key of your heart it will open them all,
And there's where the darlings dwell ! '
SIR NOEL PATON
u TIMOR MORTIS CONTURBA T ME "
COULD I have sung one Song that
The singer's voice, and in my
Find loving echo — evermore a part
Of all her sweetest memories ; could I give
One great Thought to the People, that should
The spring of noble action in their hour
Of darkness, or control their headlong
With the firm reins of Justice and of Love ;
Could I have traced one Form that should
The sacred mystery that underlies
All Beauty, and through man's enraptured
Teach him how beautiful is Holiness, —
I had not feared thee. But to yield my
Life's Purpose unfulfilled ! — This is thy
sting, O Death !
190 SACRED POEMS OF THE
DARKNESS enfolds me, like the
Of universal death ; like a great
Fathomless, shoreless — the infinity
Of silence whelms me ; in my throbbing ear
Surging tumultuous, — till I seem to hear
The cosmic thunder, as the systems wheel
Afar their monstrous orbits, — even to feel
The tempest of their waftage. And great fear
And tribulation fall upon my heart
Lest haply man, despite his lofty dream
Of spiritual life, be but a part —
A ripple of the dead, insensate stream
Of Force material, for an instant tost
Within its vortex — then for ever lost.
Flitting between the two eternities —
Forgotten Hath-been, and unknown To-be —
An atom lost in the immensity
Of Time and Space into the dark abyss
Still groping — peering ; conscious but of this :
That I have missed the track ; for track in
There is, — nor all my dreams of Faith and
NINETEENTH CENTURY 191
But ignes fatui — dread hypothesis ! —
Of mine own kindling. Yet the unconscious
Frail atom, too, on the vast surge of Force
That buoys the Universe — hath its destined
Nor therefrom swerves. Am 1 then blindly
Into the void, to gasp — and perish ? Nay,
God guides me also on my perilous way.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
IT was the Christmas Eve ;
The homeless wind did grieve
Around the desolate moorland,
blind with snow ;
When at my wattle door —
Shelter how frail and poor !
I heard the sound of weeping — very low.
And peering forth into the wild
And dreary night — lo ! on the threshold
stood a child.
His tiny feet were bare,
The snow was in his hair,
The snow was on his fluttering raggedness.
192 SACRED POEMS OF THE
"Pity a little one
Out in the storm alone/'
He feebly murmured in his sore distress.
Within my arms I gathered him,
And bore with soothing words into my
And as I bore him in
There came the silvery din
Of bells, far-chiming through the fitful blore,
And from his pallid brow
A sweet light seemed to flow,
And from his tattered garment wintry-frore ;
While from his eyes a look there came
Of love that thrilled like fire through all
my trembling frame.
I laid him on my bed,
And water brought and bread —
The last scant remnant of my hermit fare, —
Whereof he took, and slept ;
While by his side I kept
Dark vigil,— all my spirit bowed in prayer,
Towards the dawning of the morn
Whereon our Blessed Lord and Saviour,
Christ, was born.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 193
But, hungered and a-cold
Ere half my beads were told
The gentle boon of sleep to me was given ;
And in a solemn dream
I saw the wondrous gleam
Of that strange star high in the eastern
That led the Magi on their way,
What time the King of kings within the
manger lay ;
I saw the angel throng,
Heard, too, the heavenly song
Beside the shepherds in the fields by night,
And eager ran with them
To where in Bethlehem
We found the Holy Babe in swaddlings white.
And kneeling in the sacred place
I saw — and wept to see — in His my
wanderer's face !
But they were tears of bliss, —
And bending low to kiss
In loving awe the rosy-tender feet —
The vision passed ; and — strange !
What means this mystic change
194 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Of all that doth my rapt observance meet ?
A blazing Yule-log on the hearth
Fills my late darksome cell with light and
warmth and mirth !
Upon my table bare
A golden Chalice fair
Shone brimmed with wine ; a golden Paten
Bread broken ; a pale Rood
Beside them shadowy stood ;
And from the piteous wounds the warm blood
welled . . .
I turned to rouse my sleeping one ;
But vacant stood the bed — and I was all
I sank upon my knees,
While once more on the breeze
The Christmas bells came sounding joyously ;
And on a scroll o'er head
Written in light I read
The legend : " Thou hast done it unto ME."
And I forgot my sins and cares,
For then I knew HE had been with me
NINETEENTH CENTURY 195
And from that hour to this
My fire unquenched is ;
By daily use unminished, on the board
Still stand the bread and wine ;
And this poor cote of mine,
Still radiant from the presence of The Lord,
Is a rich temple, where I bide
Fearless His angel's summons, — His what-
REV. T. B. POLLOCK
MY FR1EXDS IN PARADISE
FRIENDS of my childhood, guardians of
Who made my morn of life so bright
and fair ;
In whom I saw the loveliness of Truth,
And learned to love it, loving what ye were ;
In you the forming of a heavenly hand,
The work of God's own Spirit I could see,
Preparing you for that pure, peaceful land,
Where you were going, ah, too soon for me !
What can the joy of early days restore ?
Earth ne'er can be again what earth has
You made life what it was to me before,
And dearness gave to each familiar scene.
And you are gone ; I miss you day by day,
I look around, and for your comfort yearn ;
But onward I must tread my lonely way,
For you will never, never more return.
Your looks of love that used my heart to cheer
Shall never beam again from mortal eyes ;
Your voices speak not now to mourners here,
But sing with happy saints beyond the skies.
SACRED POEMS 197
Your fight is o'er, your work is done below,
Safe in the waiting land you calmly rest ;
Still learning ever more and more to know
With joy how deep God's chosen ones are
You cannot come to me, nor could I dare
To wish you back in this dark world of pain ;
But I may go to Paradise, and there,
In brighter scenes enjoy your love again.
A little more of waiting must be mine,
More work for God to try my faith and love ;
Then we may meet where you already shine,
And live together in the homes above.
But, have I only thoughts of vanished days,
And hopes of meeting in the realms afar ?
Must I my yearning spirit never raise
To think upon and love you where you are ?
The memory of love will not avail
The craving of the soul to satisfy ;
Love must love on, though sight and know-
And Faith must quicken it, or Love will die.
I did not feel, though sorrow bowed my head,
As each dear form was laid with kindred
198 SACRED POEMS OF THE
That out of sight I buried then my dead,
That heart and thought must turn from you
It cannot be ; my thoughts, with restless wing,
Far, far from earth to follow you will roam ;
My heart will still its truest offering bring,
As when I loved you in my childhoods
Though other friends are dear, they yet are new,
And never can be precious as the old ;
The love that clings so tenderly to you
Will not be loosened others to enfold.
And as I feel with all the joy of those
Who still can greet me with a friendly hand ;
I surely may desire the full repose
Of dearer friends who tread the spirit land.
Need I drive back the instinct of my heart,
This impulse true, that nature makes me feel ?
Fire from its light and warmth I may not part ;
1 cannot love you, and not wish your weal.
If God can give you more of God's own light,
And draw you nearer to the fount of joy,
I must desire that you may reach the height
Where purest rapture may your songs
NINETEENTH CENTURY 199
But though my lips have uttered not a word,
Has not my soul looked up to God in prayer?
He knows the love by which my heart is
Each longing unexprest that rises there.
Yes, I have prayed, although I never knew
What meaning in my silent yearnings dwelt ;
And God has listened to the prayers for you
That rose unbidden from the love I felt.
And am I told that, when I bow the knee,
And tell my wants to Him who reigns above
1 may remember many dear to me,
But must forget the friends whom most I
Ah, never ! God is kinder far than man,
He nowhere tells me of the heartless creed
Of those who threaten me with fiercest ban
If \ should venture for your souls to plead.
I ask not what you need, I ask not how
You may be blessed in answer to my cry ;
I only know you are imperfect now,
Though nearer to your full reward than I :
And He in whom alone we all do live,
You in your rest, and I who toil below,
200 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Who hears your pra\ers and mine, will wisely
What most we need that we may perfect
"SAVIOUR MOST LOVING"
SAVIOUR most loving, bending before
Sinful and mourning, Thy mercy we
Leave us not hopeless, Lord, we implore Thee,
Thou hast redeemed us, O hear and save.
Fountain, where sinners find ever flowing
Streams that wash all their defilement away,
To those pure waters thankfully going,
We would for mercy and cleansing pray.
Gentle Physician, mortal ills healing,
Bending in love o'er each sin-stricken soul,
Come, all Thy care and goodness revealing,
Strengthen our weakness and make us
Shepherd most careful, warn us when stray-
Guide us in paths where Thine own feet
have trod ;
NINETEENTH CENTURY 201
Led by Thy call, Thy dear voice obeying,
Bring us in peace to the fold of God.
Light where the path is shadowed and dreary>
Friend of the hearts that in loneliness pine ;
Help of the poor, and strength of the weary,
Where is the love that is like to Thine ?
Lord, we would follow where Thou dost
Patient in sorrow and valiant in fight ;
May we be true, whatever befall us,
Journeying on to the land of light.
There, Lord, with gladness laying before Thee
Each heavy cross we have carried so long ;
Crowned with Thy blessing, we shall adore
Singing for ever the triumph song.
ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER
FRIES D SORROW
O not cheat thy Heart and tell her,
Grief will pass away —
44 Hope for fairer times in future,
And forget to-day."
Tell her, if you will, that sorrow
Need not come in vain ;
Tell her that the lesson taught her
Far outweighs the pain.
Cheat her not with the old comfort,
44 Soon she will forget" —
Bitter truth, alas ! but matter
Rather for regret ;
Bid her not "Seek other pleasures,
Turn to other things" : —
Rather nurse her caged sorrow
Till the captive sings.
Rather bid her go forth bravely,
And the stranger greet :
Not as foe, with shield and buckler,
But as dear friends meet ;
Bid her with a strong clasp hold her,
By her dusky wings ;
And she'll whisper low and gently
Blessings that she brings.
SACRED POEMS 203
MY God, I thank Thee, Who hast made
The earth so bright,
So full of splendour and of joy,
Beauty and light ;
So many glorious things are here,
Noble and right.
I thank Thee, too, that Thou hast made
Joy to abound ;
So many gentle thoughts and deeds
Circling us round,
That in the darkest spot of earth
Some love is found.
I thank Thee more that all our joy
Is touched with pain ;
That shadows fall on brightest hours ;
That thorns remain :
So that earth's bliss may be our guide,
And not our chain.
I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast kept
The best in store ;
We have enough, yet not too much
To long for more :
A yearning for a deeper peace
Not known before.
204 SACRED POEMS OF THE
I thank Thee, Lord, that here our souls,
Though amply blest,
Can never find, although they seek,
A perfect rest ;
Nor ever shall, until they lean
On Jesus' breast.
PER PACEM AD LUC EM
I DO not ask, O Lord, that life may be
A pleasant road ;
I do not ask that Thou wouldst take
Aught of its load ;
I do not ask that flowers should always spring
Beneath my feet ;
I know too well the poison and the sting
Of things too sweet.
For one thing only, Lord, dear Lord, I plead,
Lead me aright —
Though strength should falter, and though
heart should bleed —
Through Peace to Light.
I do not ask, O Lord, that Thou shouldst shed
Full radiance here ;
Give but a ray of peace, that I may tread
Without a fear.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 203
I do not ask my cross to understand,
My way to see ;
Better in darkness just to feel Thy hand
And follow Thee.
Joy is like restless day ; but peace divine
Like quiet night :
Lead me, O Lord, — till perfect Day shall shine,
Through Peace to Light.
STRIVE, WAIT, AND PRAY
STRIVE, yet I do not promise
The prize you dream of to-day
Will not fade when you think to
And melt in your hand away ;
But another and holier treasure,
You would now perchance disdain,
Will come when your toil is over,
And pay you for all your pain.
Wait ; yet I do not tell you
The hour you long for now
Will not come with its radiance vanished.
And a shadow upon its brow ;
Yet far through the misty future,
With a crown of starry light,
An hour of joy you know not
Is swinging her silent flight
206 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Pray ; though the gift you ask for
May never comfort your fears,
May never repay your pleading,
Yet pray and with hopeful tears ;
An answer, not that you long for,
But diviner, will come one day ;
Your eyes are too dim to see it,
Yet strive, and wait, and pray.
A FIRST SORROW
RISE ! this day shall shine
To thee a star divine,
On Time's dark shore.
Till now thy soul has been
All glad and gay :
Bid it awake and look
At grief to-day !
No shade has come between
Thee and the sun ;
Like some long childish dream
Thy life has run :
NINETEENTH CENTURY 207
But now the stream has reached
A dark, deep sea,
And Sorrow, dim and crowned,
Is waiting thee.
Each of God's soldiers bears
A sword divine :
Stretch out thy trembling hands
To-day for thine !
To each anointed Priest
God's summons came :
O Soul, He speaks to-day,
And calls thy name.
Then with slow, reverent step,
And beating heart,
From out thy joyous days
Thou must depart.
And leaving all behind,
Come forth alone,
To join the chosen band
Around the throne.
Raise up thine eyes — be strong,
Nor cast away
The crown that God has given
Thy soul to-day.
208 SACRED POEMS OF THE
SOWING AND REAPING
SOW with a generous hand ;
Pause not for toil or pain ;
Weary not through the heat of sum-
Weary not through the cold spring rain ;
But wait till the autumn comes
For the sheaves of golden grain.
Scatter the seed and fear not,
A table will be spread ;
What matter if you are too weary
To eat your hard-earned bread !
Sow, while the earth is broken,
For the hungry must be fed.
Sow ; — while the seeds are lying
In the warm earths bosom deep,
And your warm tears fall upon it, —
They will stir in their quiet sleep ;
And the green blades rise the quicker.
Perchance, for the tears you weep.
Then sow ; — for the hours are fleeting,
And the seed must fall to-day ;
And care not what hands shall reap it,
Or if you shall have passed away
Before the waving cornfields
Shall gladden the sunny day.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 209
Sow ; and look onward, upward.
Where the starry light appears, —
Where, in spite of the coward's doubting,
Or your own heart's trembling fears,
You shall reap in joy the harvest
You have sown to-dav in tears.
THE PEACE OF GOD
WE ask for Peace, O Lord !
Thy children ask Thy Peace ;
Not what the world calls rest,
That toil and care should cease,
That through bright sunny hours
Calm Life should fleet away,
And tranquil night should fade
In smiling day ; —
It is not for such Peace that we would
We ask for Peace, O Lord !
Yet not to stand secure,
Girt round with iron Pride,
Contented to endure :
Crushing the gentle strings
That human hearts should know,
Untouched by others' joy
Or others' woe ; —
Thou, O dear Lord, wilt never teach us so.
210 SACRED POEMS OF THE
We ask Thy Peace, O Lord !
Through storm, and fear, and strife,
To light and guide us on,
Through a long, struggling life :
While no success or gain
Shall cheer the desperate fight,
Or nerve, what the world calls
Our wasted might : —
Yet pressing through the darkness to the
It is Thine own, O Lord,
Who toil while others sleep ;
Who sow with loving care
What other hands shall reap.
They lean on Thee entranced,
In calm and perfect rest :
Give us that Peace, O Lord,
Divine and blest,
Thou keepest for those hearts who love Thee
IF THOU COULDST KNOW
I THINK if thou couldst know,
O soul that will complain
What lies concealed below
Our burden and our pain ;
How just our anguish brings
Nearer those longed-for things
NINETEENTH CENTURY 211
We seek for now in vain, —
I think thou wouldst rejoice, and not com-
I think if thou couldst see,
With thy dim mortal sight,
How meanings, dark to thee,
Are shadows hiding light ;
Truth's efforts crossed and vexed,
Life's purpose all perplexed, —
If thou couldst see them right,
I think that they would seem all clear and
wise, and bright.
And yet thou canst not know,
And yet thou canst not see ;
Wisdom and sight are slow
In poor humanity.
If thou couldst trust, poor soul,
In Him who rules the whole,
Thou wouldst find peace and rest :
Wisdom and sight are well but Trust is best.
REV. H. I. D. RYDER
NO brightness of the sky
To tell us where they lie ;
The winds that winnow by
Make no report ;
Their cradle and their bier
The earth, says, "They were here.
But now no more appear
In their resort."
Their footprints all around
Yet make it holy ground ;
The way they went, the sound
Has died away.
The words which they have writ
Of pathos or of wit
The paper may not quit,
But where are they ?
Ah ! vainly still we ask :
It is not nature's task
To tear away the mask
Where God is hid.
SACRED POEMS 213
Go bow your troubled face
Closer in God's embrace,
And let His love displace
All fears forbid.
Your loved ones are not gone,
Live but for God alone,
And you shall find your own
Upon His breast.
Safe in the inner shrine
Within the arms divine ;
They are not grown less thine
Because more blest.
WHO has not dreamed of lonely
Through darkling paths of woods
that never end,
How there will meet you suddenly a friend
To whom if but your lifeless hands might
Your way would be no more companionless ;
But he regards you not, and passes on ;
And lo, another, while you turn, is gone
Past you not knowing, and the loneliness
214 SACRED POEMS
Grows deeper, as anon a happy band
You once were one of pass in converse sweet ;
The sounds caress you of their accents
Then die away, mocking your spell-bound
Faint image of the loss awaiting one
Whose friends are friends of God, whilst he
HYMN OF THE FLOWERS
DAY Stars ! that ope your frownless
eyes to twinkle
From rainbow galaxies of Earths
And dewdrops on her lonely altars sprinkle
As a libation :
Ye Matin Worshippers ! who, bending lowly
Before the uprisen Sun, God's lidless eye,
Throw from your chalices a sweet and holy
Incense on high :
Ye bright Mosaics ! that with storied beauty
The floor of Nature's temple tesselate :
What numerous emblems of instructive duty
Your forms create !
'Neath cloistered boughs each floral bell that
And tolls its perfume on the passing air
Makes Sabbath in the fields, and ever ringeth
A call to prayer :
Not to the domes where crumbling arch and
Attest the feebleness of mortal hand,
But to that fane most catholic and solemn
Which God hath plann'd, —
216 SACRED POEMS OF THE
To that cathedral, boundless as our wonder,
Whose quenchless lamps the sun and moon
Its choir the winds and waves, its organ
Its dome the sky.
There, as in solitude and shade I wander
Through the green aisles or stretch'd upon
Awed by the silence, reverently ponder
The ways of God,
Your voiceless lips, O Flowers ! are living
Each cup a pulpit and each ieaf a book,
Supplying to my fancy numerous teachers
From loneliest nook.
Floral Apostles ! that in dewy splendour
" Weep without woe and blush without a
crime " :
Oh, may I deeply learn, and ne'er surrender
Your love sublime !
" Thou wast not, Solomon ! in all thy glory
Array'd," the lilies cry, " in robes like ours :
How vain your grandeur ! ah how transitory
Are human flowers ! n
NINETEENTH CENTURY 217
In the sweet-scented pictures, Heavenly
With which Thou paintest Natures wide-
What a delightful lesson Thou impartest
Of love to all !
Not useless are ye, Flowers ! though made
for pleasure ;
Blooming o'er field and wave, by day or night,
From every source your sanction bids me
Ephemeral Sages ! what instructors hoary
For such a world of thought could furnish
Each fading calyx a memento mon\
Yet fount of hope !
Posthumous Glories ! angel-like collection,
Upraised from seed or bulb interrd in earth :
Ye are to me a type of resurrection
And second birth.
Were I in churchless solitudes remaining,
Far from all voice of teachers or divines,
My soul would find in flowers, of God's
Priests, sermons, shrines.
THE IMPRISONED SOUL
I PASSED along a narrow noisy street,
Where, just above the hurrying crowds,
A lark encaged, that yet right nobly sung,
With quivering wing and ever restless feet,
A heaven-born song towards the far-off stars.
But, ill expressing all his heart did mean,
Impatiently he spurned his patch of green,
And beat his swelling breast against the bars.
Here, said I, is a spring of worship, pent
Within a faithful heart, by sad mischance,
That, prisoned close through sordid circum-
Must needs well up and find its heavenward
The heaven-born soul e'en while engaged on
Oft carols forth in songs of heavenly mirth.
THE SOULS FREEDOM
I WANDERED o'er a breezy upland heath,
'Mid incense of a myriad flowers in June:
Where golden gorse unfolded to the
And sloped to where the sea crawled far
SACRED POEMS 219
Above the undertone of minor birds,
The larks held high their revelry of joy,
And filled the air with one sublime envoy
Of praise, that rose to where the blue engirds
The throne ; and, mounting in untiring flight,
They seemed to rise and sing, and poise above
In thrilling ecstasy of unpent love,
Bathed in the balm of God's eternal light.
Here, said I, surely is the gate of heaven :
And these the new-found songs of souls for
RICHARD HENRY STODDARD
ONCE, when the days were ages.
And the old Earth was young,
The high Gods and the sages
From Nature's golden pages
Her open secrets wrung.
Each questional each to know
Whence came the Heavens above, and whence
the Earth below.
Indra, the endless giver
Of every gracious thing
The Gods to him deliver,
Whose bounty is the river
Of which they are the spring, —
Indra, with anxious heart,
Ventures with Vivochunu where Brahma is
44 Brahma ! Supremest Being !
By whom the worlds are made, —
Where we are blind, all-seeing, —
Stable, where we are fleeing,
Of Life and Death afraid, —
Instruct us, for mankind,
What is the body, Brahma ? O Brahma !
what the mind ?"
SACRED POEMS 221
Hearing as though he heard not,
So perfect was his rest,
So vast the Soul that err'd not,
So wise the lips that stirr'd not, —
His hand upon his breast
He laid, whereat his face
Was mirror'd in the river that girt that holy
They question'd each the other
What Brahma's answer meant.
Said Vivochunu — M Brother !
Through Brahma the Great Mother
Hath spoken her intent :
Man ends as he began, —
The shadow on the water is all there is of
14 The Earth with woe is cumber'd,
And no man understands ;
They see their days are number'd
By One that never slumber'd
Nor stay'd His dreadful hands.
I see with Brahma's eyes :
The body is the shadow that on the water
Thus Indra, looking deeper,
With Brahma's self possessed.
So dry thine eyes, thou weeper !
222 SACRED POEMS
And rise again, thou sleeper !
The hand on Brahma's breast
Is his divine assent
Covering the soul that dies not. This is what
LORD DE TABLEY
THE SA1ST ASD THE SUN
I HEARD a Saint cry to the Sun — " Be dim.
Why shouldst thou rule on high with
Till fools adore thee as the God of Day,
Robbing thy Master's honour due to Him? v
But the sun-spirit, thro' each radiant limb
Translucent as a living ember coal,
Glowed. At the anger of the seraph soul
His golden orb trembled from boss to rim.
Then made he answer as a dove that sings,
44 God's glory is my glory, and my praise
Only His praising. They, who kneel to me,
See thro' the waving of my orient wings
A choir of stars with voices like the sea,
Singing hosanna in the heavenly ways."
ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON
STRONG Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen Thy
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove ;
Thine are these orbs of light and shade ;
Thou madest Life in man and brute ;
Thou madest Death ; and lo, Thy foot
Is on the skull which Thou hast made.
Thou wilt not leave us in the dust :
Thou madest man, he knows not why t
He thinks he was not made to die ;
And Thou hast made him : Thou art just.
Thou seemest human and divine.
The highest, holiest manhood, Thou :
Our wills are ours, we know not how ;
Our wills are ours, to make them Thine.
Our little systems have their day ;
They have their day and cease to be :
They are but broken lights of Thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.
SACRED POEMS 225
We have but faith : we cannot know ;
For knowledge is of things we see ;
And yet we trust it comes from Thee,
A beam in darkness : let it grow.
Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell ;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,
But vaster. We are fools and slight ;
We mock Thee when we do not fear 7
But help Thy foolish ones to bear ;
Help Thy vain worlds to bear Thy light.
RICHARD CHENEVIX TRENCH
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
SAY to thee, do thou repeat
To the first man thou mayest meet
In lane, highway, or open street*—
That he and we and all men move
Under a canopy of love
As broad as the blue sky above ;
That doubt and trouble, fear and pain
And anguish, all are shadows vain,
That death itself shall not remain ;
That weary deserts we may tread,
A dreary labyrinth may thread,
Through dark ways underground be led ;
Yet, if we will one Guide obey,
The dreariest path, the darkest way
Shall issue out in heavenly day ;
And we, on divers shores now cast,
Shall meet, our perilous voyage past,
All in our Father's house at last.
And, ere thou leave him, say thou this.
Yet one word more — they only miss
The winning of that final bliss
SACRED POEMS 227
Who will not count it true, that Love,
Blessing, not cursing, rules above,
And that in it we live and move.
And one thing further make him know,
That to believe these things are so,
This firm faith never to forego,
Despite of all which seems at strife
With blessing, all with curses rife,
That this is blessing, this is life.
LORD, MANY TIMES 1 AM AWEARY
LORD, many times I am aweary quite
Of mine own self, my sin, my
Yet be not Thou, or I am lost outright,
Weary of me.
And hate against myself I often bear,
And enter with myself in fierce debate :
Take Thou my part against myself, nor
In that just hate.
228 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Best friends might loathe us, if what things
We know of our own selves, they also know :
Lord, Holy One ! if Thou who knowest worse
Shouldst loathe us too !
STRENGTH IN PRAYER
LORD, what a change within us one
Spent in thy presence will prevail to
What heavy burdens from our bosoms take,
What parched grounds refresh, as with a
We kneel, and all around us seems to lower ;
We rise, and all, the distant and the near,
Stands forth in sunny outline, brave and
We kneel how weak, we rise how full of
Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this
Or others — that we are not always strong,
That we are ever overborne with care,
That we should ever weak or heartless be,
Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer,
And joy and strength and courage are with
NINETEENTH CENTURY 229
SOME murmur when their sky is clear
And wholly bright to view,
If one small speck of dark appear
In their great heaven of blue :
And some with thankful love are filled
If but one streak of light,
One ray of God's good mercy, gild
The darkness of their night.
In palaces are hearts that ask,
In discontent and pride,
Why life is such a dreary task,
And all good things denied.
And hearts in poorest huts admire
How Love has in their aid,
Love that not ever seems to tire,
Such rich provision made.
AUBREY DE VERE
THE AGNOSTICS QUESTION
WHAT art thou, Life ? For some
there are that ask,
" Is Life worth living ? " Are we
come to this,
Heroic centuries past of bale or bliss,
The Poet's song, and Patriot's solemn task ?
The Pagan's heart itself was free to bask
At least in Nature's joy — the laugh — the kiss —
Life ran, a bright wine from an honest cask ;
Hope sped her arrow gaily, hit or miss.
Sublimer ages followed : Truth was known :
Faith ruled. But Love grew weak by slow
O'er blackening ocean rushed a tempest blind :
What wonder if a ship with mast o'erblown
Dragged at its side, more slowly drifts this day
Than skiffs that ne'er spread canvas to the
IS LIFE WORTH LIVING?"
LIFE is a thing worth living to the
Who fear not Fortune's spite, in
Truth who trust ;
Whose spirit, not thralled by pride or earth-
SACRED POEMS 231
Stands up while mortal tumults round them
Like Teneriffe above the ocean wave ;
Who, mailed in Duty, with divine disgust
Recoil from frivolous joys and aims unjust,
Nor miss rewards which Reason scorns to
Life is worth living to those souls of light
Who live for others and by gift bestow
On them the jubilant beams their own by
Who, knowing Life's defects, more inly know
This Life is not the Temple but the Gate
Where men secure of entrance watch and
An altar I would rear beside the Rhine,
And by the Arno, and the Adrian Sea,
For there, O Friends beloved, one home had
And thence, O Friends beloved and ever mine,
We ranged together. Alp and Apennine
Henceforth are rich in household nooks
Nor wholly solitary can I be
Whether the Palm my tent I make, or Pine.
How large a portion of earth's populous ball
Have you to me endeared ! Therefore less
Sorrow one day shall prove, or Fortune's
232 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Or all the ills that lonely age befall.
Ah yes ; — and yet, had I been worthier, all
Which was so dear still dearer might have
QUEEN BERTHA'S MATIN SONG
THE morning star was rising,
O'er ocean's tremulous crystal hung ;
His bright feet touched the billow,
His glance o'er earth he flung ;
On the young Queen he played,
Yet warm and disarrayed,
As, leaping lightly from her pillow,
The golden harp she swayed.
Hide not the clouds among,
Brightest star, and fairest !
Until her song those heavens along
Between thy wings thou bearest.
"Thou that on my dreams
All night long wert beaming,
Oer shining leaves and silver streams
Brighter now art gleaming ;
Every fountain hath
Light thy keen smiles give her ;
In every bay-leaf's dewy bath
Thy soft swift glances quiver."
NINETEENTH CENTURY 233
Hide not the clouds among,
Brightest star and fairest !
Until her song those heavens along
Between thy wings thou bearest.
M Heaven doth laugh above,
Earth below is gay,
And souls that walk 'twixt light and love
Shall walk in joy alway,
White as yon lily sweet,
That springs, while cold airs fan it,
A virgin spouse her mate to greet
In thee, glad matin Planet ! "
Hide not the clouds among
Brightest star and fairest !
Until her song those heavens along
Between thy wings thou bearest.
" All the starry hosts
And all the angelic band
At once o'er all the ethereal coasts
Leaped forth at God's command ;
But surely from afar
Twas thee men saw on high,
When darkness fled before the star
Of Christ's Nativity."
Hide not the clouds among,
Brightest star and fairest !
Until her song those heavens along
Between thy wings thou bearest.
234 SACRED POEMS OF THE
"When the earth was made
Stars and angels sang ;
When Christ was in the manger laid
More loud the anthem rang ;
But louder yet those choirs
The last great morn shall blend
Their heavenly songs and heavenly fires,
While thou dost last ascend."
Hide not the clouds among,
Brightest star and fairest !
Until her song those heavens along
Between thy wings thou bearest.
THE QUEEN'S VESPERS
HALF kneeling yet, and half reclining,
She held her harp against her
Aloft the roofs were shining
And sunset touched the trees.
From the gold border gleamed like snow
Her foot : a crown enriched her brow :
Dark gems confined that crimson vest
Close-moulded on her neck and breast.
In silence lay the cloistral court
And shadows of the convent towers
Well ordered now in stately sort
Those roval halls and bowers.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 235
The choral chaunt had just swept by —
Bright arms lay quivering yet on high :
Thereon the warriors gazed, and then
Glanced lightly at the Queen again.
While from her lip the wild hymn floated
Such grace in those uplifted eyes
And sweet, half absent looks, they noted
That, surely, through the skies
A Spirit, they deemed flew forward ever
Above that song's perpetual river.
And, smiling from its joyous track
Upon her heavenly face looked back.
THE QUEEN'S VIGIL
BENEATH and round her queenly bower
So tall the garden pageants grew
With every breeze each moon-lit
Was waved the casement through :
White in the radiance glanced the fawn ;
Flitted the hare from lawn to lawn
By close, broad firs, that flecked the sheen,
And barred with black and silver green.
Far off, like mighty cliffs, their shade
Over a waste of waves that cast
The castle walls o'er wood and glade
Flung down their darkness vast.
236 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Answering a monarch's joyous call,
Far realms were met in festival :
There flocked the noble and the fair —
The fairest, noblest was not there.
And yet for her no flowers were blowing ;
No listening dell or vale profound
Enjoyed her breath : for her was flowing
Nor glassy stream, nor stream of sound :
In vain her song the night-bird squandered,
The winds that through her chamber wandered
And o'er her pillow brushed serene
But found the place where she had been !
The Moon whose glory swelled with light
Each lilied slope and laurelled mound
With touch more sharp and exquisite
Defined one rock cross-crowned.
Like argent flames or spires of frost
Uprose that shape of stone, embossed
With breeze-worn sculptures quaint and mild
Of Maid and Angel, King and Child.
There on her knees the Queen was praying :
On that cold marble leaned her breast ;
Prayer after prayer devoutly saying
With palms together pressed.
There for her lord she prayed aloud,
Prayed for her people, blind and proud —
That Heaven would chase away their night,
That God would bathe his heart in light !
NINETEENTH CENTURY 237
THE QUEERS ALMS
GLAD as that thrill some princely birth
With hushed yet rapturous omen
The stir as from her palace forth
The young fair Queen came pacing :
But here no pompous guard was set ;
No flattering concourse flocked around :
The poor about her gate were met :
The readiest place the poorest found.
Like youthful angels all alert
That Queen dispensed her bounteous load ;
On those whom keenest fates had hurt
Her earliest gifts bestowed.
Her face the maniac's rage beguiled ;
She turned her now among the ring
And paused, above a poor blind child
The sweetest of her songs to sing ;
Kind gifts to some, kind words to more,
Kind looks to each and all she gave,
Which on with them through life they bore
And down into their grave.
Around her feet the children crept
And kissed the grass those feet had trod ;
Sad eyes that many a year had wept
With tears of gladness gemmed the sod.
238 SACRED POEMS
The chiming of the convent bells
Called her at last away to prayer :
Farewell she smiled on their farewells —
And turned ; when, unaware,
An old grey man with hands outspread
She marked low-bent on quivering knee :
Over his brow she stooped and said,
"A kiss is all I have for thee."
REV. JOSEPH BLANCO WHITE
SIGHT Ai\D DEATH
MYSTERIOUS Night, when our first
Thee by report Divine, and heard
Did he not tremble for this goodly frame,
This glorious canopy of light and blue ?
But through a curtain of translucent dew,
Hesperus with the host of heaven came,
Bathed in the hues of the great setting
And lo ! Creation broadened to man's view.
Who could have guessed such darkness
Within thy beams, O Sun, or who
When flower, and leaf, and insect lay
Thou to such countless worlds hadst
made us blind?
Why should we then shun death with
anxious strife ?
If Light could thus deceive, wherefore
not Life ?
Coleridge wrote of this as "the finest and most grandly
conceived sonnet in our language," and Leigh Hunt says :
"In point of thought, this sonnet stands supreme, perhaps
above all in any language. Nor can we ever ponder it too
deeply, or with too thoughtful a reverence."
YET Truth is keenly sought for, and
Charged with rich words poured out
in thought's defence ;
Whether the Church inspire that eloquence,
Or a Platonic Piety confined
To the sole temple of the inward mind ;
And One there is who builds immortal lays,
Though doomed to tread in solitary ways,
Darkness before and danger's voice behind ;
Yet not alone, nor helpless to repel
Sad thoughts ; for from above the starry
Come secrets, whispered nightly to his ear ;
And the pure spirit of celestial light
Shines through his soul — "that he may see
Of things invisible to mortal sight."
THE TH1SKER AND THE DOER
ONE sits at home, with pale, impassive
Bent on the eloquence of lifeless
Noting man's thoughts from Mind's first
dawn, till now,
When Truth seems, Heaven-inspired, to
burst her fetters.
Another plies the force of stalwart limbs,
And keen wit sharpened by the whirl of
For midnight lore no studious lamp he trims,
Curtain'd and muffled from the world's dis-
Two destinies — converging to one end,
The glorious issue of all human labour ;
Where in harmonious union softly blend
The praise of God, the profit of our neigh-
Each has his gift— the stamp affix'd at birth,
That marks him tor the servant of a
The chosen Steward of His realm of Earth,
The shepherd watching for a higher Pastor.
242 SACRED POEMS OF THE
Each has his crown — of earthly laurels here,
Gather' d and woven by the hand of
And when the Spirit-City's towers appear,
Dropped on his brows by angels at its
Judge not which serves his mighty Master
Haply thou mightest be true worth's de-
For each obeys his Nature's high behest, —
The close-pent thinker and the busy actor.
THE PA TH OF FAITH
PERCHANCE thou deemest it is hard
To have no foresight of thy life,
Unwarned, thy doubtful feet to guard
From wandering in the paths of strife ;
But though thou hast no prescient sense,
Thou hast a watching Providence.
With trustful labour weave the web
Of high emprise and noble deed ;
Heedless if life should flow or ebb,
Let bravely doing be thy creed ;
That Faith will make thee happier far
Than if thou read'st each glistening star.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 243
Should stormy fortune lurk behind
Thy curtain'd Fate, and darkly loom —
Thank God thou canst not feel the wind,
Nor hear the distant thunder boom ;
The tempest, with soft breezes blent,
May, ere it reaches thee, be spent.
Should brilliant sunshine bursting there
Upon thee, sudden and sublime,
Instant reflection of its glare
Might haply blind thee for the time,
By pouring on thy dazzled sight
Rays of intolerable light ;
But Faith will nerve thee for the fight
Against misfortune's darkening power ;
And flood thy road with tempered light,
Until thou reach, in Heaven, that hour
When Prescience shall be thine at will —
Prescience of good unmixed with ill.
THE GROWTH OF GOOD
AR where the smooth Pacific swells,
Beneath an arch of blue,
Where sky and wave together meet,
A coral reeflet grew.
244 SACRED POEMS OF THE
No mortal eye espied it there,
Nor sea-bird poised on high ;
Lonely it sprang, and lonely grew,
The nursling of the sky.
With soft-caressing touch, the wind
In summer round it play'd ;
And murmuring through its tiny caves,
Unceasing music made.
The ministering wind, so sweet
With mountain perfume, brought
A changeful robe of emerald moss,
By fairy fingers wrought.
Thus day by day, and year by year,
The little islet grew ;
Its food, the flower-dust wafted by ;
Its drink, the crystal dew.
By night the lonely stars look'd forth,
Each from his watch-tower high,
And smiled a loving blessing down,
Gently and silently.
And forest birds from distant isles,
A moment settled there,
And from their plumage shook the seeds,
Then sprang into the air.
NINETEENTH CENTURY 245
The islet grew, and tender plants
Rose up amidst the dearth —
BloonVd, died, and dropt upon the soil,
Like gifts from Heaven to earth.
Thus ages passd ; a hundred trees
Graced that once barren strand ;
A hundred ships its produce bore
To many a distant land.
And thus in every human heart
A germ of good is sown,
Whose strivings upwards to the light
Are seen by God alone.
INDEX OF AUTHORS AND
Adams, Sarah Flower page
Nearer, my God to Thee . . .11
Arnold, Sir Edwin
Extracts from " The Light of the
East London 23
Alexander, C. F.
The Cave of Machpelah ... 25
The Creation 28
Is Life Worth Living? ... 33
On a Grave, not of this Century . 37
A Carol for Christmas Eve . . 38
Benson, Arthur Christopher PAGE
One by One 42
When Punctual Dawn ... 43
Binney, Rev. Thomas
Eternal Light 44
Be True 46
Rest, weary Soul 47
In Memory of a Happy Day in
The Narrow Way .... 51
The Penitent 53
Winter Stores 34
Last Lines 57
Brooke, Rev. R. S., D.D.
Light and Shade 59
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett page
Cheerfulness taught by Reason. . 62
The Sleep 64
Bryant, William Cullen
M Blessed are they that Mourn " . 70
Buckley, Rev. R. W., D.D.
Twilight Sorrow 72
At Divine Disposal .... 75
Bushby, Anne S.
Christ's Invitation 76
Clough, Arthur Hugh
" O thou of little Faith "... . 78
God is Love ,79
Before Sedan 82
Dowden, Professor Edward page
Seeking God 84
The Heaven of Heavens cannot con-
tain ....... 86
O Lamp of Life 87
The Death of Moses . 88
Faber, Rev. Frederick William
Come to Jesus 98
The Right must Win ... 100
Fowler, Ellen Thorneycroft
Loss and Gain 104
Means and End 105
A Wish 106
The Breton Fishermen's Prayer . 106
Stream and Lake . . . .107
No Room 108
Wulfruna's Hampton .... 109
Sunshine and Shadow . . .109
Fowler, Ellen Thorneycroft — Con- page
In Memoriam 110
Purple and Gold 112
M Gold and Frankincense and
Myrrh" . * . . . .114
The Hermit 117
Oh ! if the Atheist's Words were
Before Sleep 122
Dawn and Dark 123
A Prayer 123
Gallienne, Richard le
The Second Crucifixion . . .125
Grant, Sir Robert
When Gathering Clouds . . . 127
Havergal, Frances Ridley
July on the Mountains . . .129
Hawker, Robert Stephen
The Child Jesus 130
On the Mountains
Christmas Carol ....
The Silent Harp ....
The Last Crusade
Extract from "The Storming
Holmes, Oliver Wendell
The Chambered Nautilus .
Abou Ben Adhem
Jennings, Rev. John A.
Johnson, E. Pauline (Tekahionwake)
Keble, Rev. John
The Twenty-fourth Sunday after
The Fourth Sundav in Lent . .149
Longfellow, Henry \V. rAGE
The Day is Done 152
The Legend Beautiful .... 154
The Two Angels 158
Lowell, J. Russell
Lyte, Henry Francis
Abide with Me 162
He is Mine 163
MacDonald, George, LL.D.
A Dream of the Cross . . . 166
Three Sonnets from u Within and
Marston, Philip Bourke
After Love's Passing . . . .180
Matheson, Rev. George, D.D.
O Love that wilt not let me go .171
Moulton, Louise Chandler page
Selfish Prayer 183
Newman, John Henry
Lead, Kindly Light .... 184
A Thought 185
Noel, Baptist Wriothesley
There's not a Bird .... 186
Little Garaine 188
Paton, Sir No£l
" Timor Mortis Conturbat Me". . 189
Night Thoughts 190
A Christmas Carol . . . .191
Pollock, Rev. T. B.
My Friends in Paradise
"Saviour most Loving' 1
Procter, Adelaide Anne
My God, 1 thank Thee
Procter, Adelaide Anne — Continued PAGE
Per Paceni ad Lucem .... 204
Strive, Wait, and Pray . . . 205
A First Sorrow 206
Sowing and Reaping .... 208
The Peace of God . .209
If thou couldst know . . . .210
Ryder, Rev. H. I. D.
Animae Fidelium .
Hymn of the Flowers
The Imprisoned Soul
The Soul's Freedom
Stoddard, Richard Henry
Tabley, Lord de
The Saint and the Sun
Tennyson, Alfred, Lord
Trench, Richard Chenevix pag e
The Kingdom of God .... 226
Lord, many times I am aweary quite 227
Strength in Prayer .... 228
Thankful Love 229
re, Aubrey de
The Agnostic's Question
Is Life Worth Living ?
Queen Bertha's Matin Song
The Queen's Vespers .
The Queen's Vigil
The Queen's Alms
White, Rev. Joseph Blanco
Night and Death .
The Thinker and the Doer
The Path of Faith
The Growth of Good .